Myanmar: need for international Commission of Inquiry, independent legal profession

The ICJ today delivered a joint NGO oral statement to the UN Human Rights Council on the need in Myanmar for an international Commission of Inquiry and for an independent and self-governing legal profession.

In the statement, the International Commission of Jurists, joined by the International Bar Association’s Human Rights Institute and Lawyers’ Rights Watch Canada, welcomed the report of the Special Rapporteur on the situation for human rights in Myanmar, and her recommendation for a Commission of Inquiry to investigate persecution of Rohingya and other minorities in Rakhine State.

Since 9 October 2016, Myanmar’s security forces have reportedly targeted Rohingya during “clearance operations” which have no basis in law. Attacks against women, men, and children allegedly have involved extrajudicial killings; enforced disappearances; torture and other ill-treatment including rape and other sexual violence; hundreds of arbitrary arrests and detentions; forced displacement; and looting and destruction of homes, food and other property.

To date, authorities in Myanmar appear to have been unwilling or unable to investigate abuses or hold perpetrators accountable. Several national investigation commissions have lacked impartiality and independence. National judicial and law enforcement authorities lack capacity and independence to address this situation. Accordingly, we urge Council to adopt a resolution at this session establishing an international, independent Commission of Inquiry to assess facts, identify causes and perpetrators, and issue recommendations including remedies for victims.

The recent killing of lawyer U Ko Ni, who strongly advocated against religious discrimination and for inter-communal peace, must be subject to a prompt, impartial and effective investigation capable of identifying all those responsible and holding them accountable in a fair trial. It also underscores the urgent need for an independent and self-governing legal profession in Myanmar, enabled to uphold human rights and the rule of law without fear.

The statement may be downloaded in PDF format here: HRC34-OralStatement-Myanmar-2017

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