Myanmar: address root causes of violations against Rohingyas

The ICJ today urged accountability for and the need to address the root causes of violations of human rights of Rohingya people in Myanmar, at the UN in Geneva.

The statement was made in an interactive dialogue with the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, on his oral update on the situation, at the Human Rights Council.

The statement read as follows:

“The Government of Myanmar is duty-bound to investigate, prosecute and punish perpetrators of human rights violations. Yet impunity at domestic level necessitates international action: to secure criminal accountability, to provide redress and to deter repetition of crimes under international law.

In May, the government announced a new inquiry into rights violations in Rakhine State. Its mandate, composition and legal framework remain unclear – and there is no indication this will be more effective than previous national inquiries – which have not shed light on the facts, have rarely led to prosecutions and have failed to provide redress.

Justice cannot be further delayed. The International Commission of Jurists supports calls for establishing an international accountability mechanism.

It is also imperative to address the laws and practices discriminating against Rohingyas and other minorities, particularly the 1982 Citizenship Law, as recommended by the government’s Rakhine Advisory Commission.

As a UN Member State, Myanmar must fully cooperate with all UN organs. This includes allowing access to the Special Rapporteur, and permitting the UN Human Rights Office to establish in the country with a full mandate.

Quiet diplomacy and downplaying human rights concerns have failed to improve the situation for Rohingyas. UN organs and envoys present in Myanmar must engage in frank and direct dialogue with the Government about ongoing human rights violations – consistent with the UN Charter and the Human Rights Up Front initiative.

Human rights violations are the root cause of this humanitarian crisis. There can be no voluntary and sustainable return of Rohingya refugees without addressing the sources of human rights violations.

Thank you.”

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