Rohingya in Myanmar; International judges and accountability in Sri Lanka – statement to UN

The ICJ, joined by FIDH, Franciscans International, and IMADR, today delivered a statement to the UN Human Rights Council.

The statement was on the situation of Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar, and on the need for active participation by international judges in the judicial mechanism to be adopted in Sri Lanka as part of the process of accountability and reconciliation.

The organizations stated, during general debate on an oral update on Sri Lanka from the High Commissioner for Human Rights, and the Commissioner’s report on the situation of Rohingya in Myanmar, that:

The Government of Myanmar has persecuted the Rohingya, refused to extend basic citizenship rights, and Parliament passed legislation entrenching discrimination such as the Race and Religion Protection laws. This has displaced thousands within Rakhine State and driven the Rohingya to sea and neighbouring countries. The ICJ, FIDH, Franciscans International and IMADR call on Myanmar:

  • to repeal the 1982 Citizenship Law or amend it in accordance with the recommendations of the Special Rapporteur, to grant Rohingya full citizenship and accompanying rights;
  • to develop a citizenship plan based on non-discrimination;
  • to reject the Rakhine State Action Plan in its current form;
  • to repeal laws that discriminate against ethnic and religious minorities;
  • to diligently prosecute all acts of violence fuelled by discrimination, and hate speech that incites discrimination, hostility or violence; and
  • to improve basic living conditions for the Rohingya and Arakanese in Rakhine State by enhancing protection of their economic, social, and cultural rights.

We welcome recent initiatives by the Government of Sri Lanka towards implementing Resolution 30/1, including the establishment of an Office of Missing Persons, and ratification of the Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance.

However, many of the commitments in the resolution remain unfulfilled. The other three transitional justice mechanisms envisioned by the resolution – an office of reparation, a truth-seeking commission, and a judicial mechanism – are yet to be established.

We call on Sri Lanka to implement, without delay, all elements of Resolution 30/1, including particularly the establishment of a credible judicial mechanism with full participation of international judges, prosecutors and lawyers. We agree that international participation is “a necessary guarantee for the independence and impartiality of the process in the eyes of the victims” (High Commissioner’s Oral Update, A/HRC/32/CRP.4, paragraph 32).

Rapid progress on this and other key elements of the resolution is essential to the credibility of the overall process of transition in Sri Lanka.


The statement can be downloaded in full, in PDF format, here: HRC32-OralStatement-SriLankaMyanmar-2016

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