Human Rights Council
28 February–31 March 2023
Agenda item 4
Human rights situations that require the Council’s attention
Two years after Myanmar’s military launched an unconstitutional coup d’état and formed the State Administration Council, the country is in freefall. As opposition groups gain strength and the SAC’s control over territory and the people of Myanmar erodes, the military has doubled down on its brutal tactics, sowing violence and chaos across an everwidening sphere of conflict. In recent months, the military has stepped up aerial attacks, bombing villages, schools, medical facilities, and encampments for internally displaced persons. The SAC’s campaign of mass arson continues, with roughly 58,000 homes and civilian structures burned since the coup. More than 1.3 million people have been displaced in the past two years, and more than 3,000 civilians have been killed.
The SAC continues to suppress all forms of dissent as it attempts to impose a militarydominated future on the people of Myanmar. More than 16,000 political prisoners are now behind bars. The SAC has sought to legitimize its efforts to crush civic space and control local and international organizations by establishing a draconian Organization Registration Law. Despite extending a nationwide state of emergency through July 2023, the junta continues to make plans to hold sham elections in a desperate attempt to claim legitimacy and gain international recognition.
The humanitarian and human rights crisis in Myanmar has had a destabilizing effect on the region. Since the coup, hundreds of thousands of people have fled to neighboring countries in search of safety and opportunity. Countries and communities hosting refugees from Myanmar deserve credit for offering shelter and support to people who, in many cases, have been literally forced to run for their lives. However, considered in its entirety, the international community’s treatment of those fleeing Myanmar has been wholly inadequate.
Myanmar nationals in neighboring countries enjoy few legal protections and face the risk of arrest, detention, deportation, pushbacks at land and sea, and obstruction of their access to UNHCR, refugee status determination, and resettlement. Higher income countries have failed to share responsibility for the crisis, offering paltry resettlement quotas and inadequate contributions to humanitarian relief programs.
In this report, the Special Rapporteur calls on Member States to fulfil their obligations toward people from Myanmar by offering shelter and support, refraining from acts that endanger their human rights, and working towards durable solutions for refugees and other Myanmar nationals outside their country.
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