Myanmar: cooperation with UN needed, UN must put rights up front (UN statement)

The ICJ today delivered a statement at the UN Human Rights Council calling on Myanmar to cooperate with UN mechanisms and for all UN agencies in the country to make human rights central to their approach.

The statement, made in the interactive dialogue with the international Fact Finding Mission on Myanmar, and the Special Rapporteur, read as follows:

“The International Commission of Jurists (ICJ) welcomes the update of the Independent International Fact Finding Mission. In relation to crimes under international law, the ICJ encourages the experts to continue to develop further specific recommendations for securing criminal accountability and providing redress.

The ICJ also welcomes the report of the Special Rapporteur, and strongly supports the renewal of her mandate and tenure.

As a UN Member State, the Government of Myanmar should fully cooperate with all the organs and mechanisms of the UN, in accordance with its obligations under the UN Charter.

At this session, the government asked for ‘concrete evidence’ of alleged human rights violations, and committed to taking action against perpetrators, but permission to enter the country is still refused to the Fact Finding Mission, to the Special Rapporteur and to the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights.

To demonstrate a genuine commitment to truth and accountability, the Government must allow them full access to areas of concern, particularly to Rakhine State and to conflict areas in Kachin State and Shan State.

Humanitarian actors and independent media must also be immediately allowed full and unimpeded access, particularly to Rakhine State, as recommended by the government’s own Advisory Commission.

The current situation in Rakhine State is incongruous to voluntary returns of Rohingya refugees. At the same time, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights must be included in repatriation planning with a full mandate to protect refugees. This is contemplated in current repatriation arrangements with the Government of Bangladesh, and the Government of Myanmar must now formalize this relationship with UNHCR.

Experts, what can be done to ensure all UN agencies present in Myanmar actually put ‘human rights up front’ in the line with the mandate of every UN organ under the UN Charter?”

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