Statement by the UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator ai in Myanmar, Knut Ostby, on the International Day Against Homophbia, Transphobia and Biphobia.

Statement by the UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator ai in Myanmar Knut Ostby on the International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia

17 May 2018
Eleven UN agencies and Embassies are flying the rainbow flag today in support of diversity and inclusion for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex persons (LGBTI) in Myanmar on the International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia.
This day marks the decision of the World Health Organization to declassify homosexuality as a mental disorder on 17 May 1990.
Since then, we have seen encouraging progress worldwide. Almost 40 countries now legally recognize same-sex couples. Some are looking at making it easier for transgender people to have their gender legally recognized.
However, the progress is not even. Discrimination persists in many countries on grounds of sexual orientation and LGBTI people face stigma, violence and human rights abuse.
Myanmar, like many countries in the region, has old colonial laws criminalizing same-sex relations. While these are rarely enforced, they nevertheless contribute to a hostile environment for LGBTI people.
As Myanmar transforms in so many ways, it is time to change this.
All countries have accepted the principle – enshrined in international law – that human rights are universal.
The leaders of all countries – including Myanmar – have unanimously reaffirmed their commitment ending poverty and human rights discrimination by adopting the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
The 17 sustainable development goals are based on a single, guiding principle: to leave no one behind.
That includes LGBTI people who can make great contribution to society when their rights are respected.
They have a right to enjoy life that feels free, and where love can be found without prejudice and discrimination.
The United Nations is committed to support the Government of Myanmar in designing policies and programmes that will ensure human rights for all people regardless of their sexual orientation and gender identity.

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Contact: Stanislav Saling, Spokesperson, stanislav.saling@one.un.org, +95 (0) 942 651 9871

Statement by the UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator ai in Myanmar Knut Ostby on security situation in Muse Township

Statement by the UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator ai in Myanmar Knut Ostby on security situation in Muse Township

I have been following with concern the reports of numerous civilian casualties resulting from recent clashes between the Ta’ang National Liberation Army (TNLA) and Government security forces in Muse Township in Northern Shan State.

I urge all relevant parties to exercise maximum restraint in protecting the civilian population from further casualties, and to allow the delivery of humanitarian assistance to affected communities.

The armed conflict continues to extract a heavy toll upon Myanmar society, and I express my sincere condolences to all families that have lost loved ones in this incident.

The UN encourages all parties to re-double their efforts to advance the Peace Process, and offers its full support to finding a peaceful resolution to the conflict.

Contact: Stanislav Saling, Spokesperson, stanislav.saling@one.un.org+95 (0) 942 651 9871

END

Security Council Press Statement on the Security Council’s visit to Bangladesh and Myanmar

Security Council Press Statement on the Security Council’s visit to Bangladesh and Myanmar

 From 28 April to 1 May, members of the Security Council visited Bangladesh and Myanmar as part of its efforts to address the crisis since 25 August 2017 and urge implementation of its Presidential Statement of 6 November 2017.  The Security Council is grateful to the governments of Bangladesh and Myanmar, as well as the United Nations, for facilitating the visit.

Members of the Security Council were struck by the scale of the humanitarian crisis and remain gravely concerned by the current situation.

In Bangladesh, the members of the Security Council visited the refugee camps in Cox’s Bazar, where they met Rohingya refugees.  The members of the Security Council also met Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, Minister of State Mohammed Shahriar Alam, acting Foreign Secretary M. Khurshed Alam, Refugee Relief and Repatriation Commissioner Mohammed Abul Kalam, other senior government officials, and representatives of the UN Country Team in Bangladesh.

The members of the Security Council expressed their deep appreciation to the government of Bangladesh for its efforts to provide refugees protection and assistance and expressed their determination to continue supporting Bangladesh, and Bangladeshi host communities, especially in preparing for the upcoming monsoon season and in providing refugees with sustainable support. The members of the Security Council reiterated their support to the work being undertaken by the UN Country Team in support of Bangladesh.

In Myanmar, the members of the Security Council met State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi, Senior General Min Aung Hlaing, Union Minister for the State Counsellor’s Office U Kyaw Tint Swe, Union Minister for Office of the Union Government and National Security Adviser U Thaung Tun, Union Minister for Social Welfare, Relief and Resettlement Dr Win Myat Aye, and other senior government officials, representatives of the UN Country Team in Myanmar, and members of civil society.  They also visited northern Rakhine State and observed the situation in northern Rakhine State, including widespread destruction of villages as well as reception centres and transit camps under preparation by the government of Myanmar.

The members of the Security Council noted the efforts taken by the government of Myanmar to prepare for the repatriation of refugees.  The members of the Security Council urged the government of Myanmar to step up its efforts to create conditions conducive to the safe, voluntary, and dignified return of Rohingya refugees and internally displaced persons to their homes in Rakhine State and to address the root causes of the crisis through implementation of the Rakhine Advisory Commission recommendations, including those related to human rights,citizenship, poverty alleviation and development. The members of the Security Council welcomed Myanmar’s commitment to work with the United Nations in the press release by the Ministry of the State Counsellor of Myanmar on 1st May 2018 after State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi met with members of the Security Council.

The members of the Security Council encourage states able to do so to continue and increase support to the government of Bangladesh, and Bangladeshi host communities, in hosting the Rohingya refugee community, especially regarding emergency preparedness measures to be taken ahead of the monsoon and cyclone seasons.

The members of the Security Council welcome the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding and the Arrangement on the Return of Displaced Persons from Rakhine State between the governments of Myanmar and Bangladesh and urge the government of Myanmar to work with the government of Bangladesh and the United Nations to allow the voluntary return of all refuges in conditions of safety and dignity to their homes in Myanmar, including through intensified bilateral consultations and implementation of the MoU and the Arrangement.

The members of the Security Council urge the government of Myanmar to grant the United Nations agencies and their partners immediate, safe, and unhindered access to Rakhine State, as well as to other domestic and international non-governmental organisations providing humanitarian assistance, and, as an initial confidence-building measure, to conclude a Memorandum of Understanding with UNHCR and UNDP in the coming days.

The members of the Security Council in light of the importance of undertaking transparent investigations into allegations of human rights abuses and violations, urge the government of Myanmar to fulfil, based on respect for the rule of law, its stated commitment to holding accountable perpetrators of violence, including sexual violence and abuse and violence against children.

The members of the Security Council reaffirm the Security Council’s Presidential Statement of 6 November 2017 in full, including its strong commitment to the sovereignty, political independence, territorial integrity, and unity of Myanmar.

The members of the Security Council intend to discuss in the coming days how the Security Council can work with the governments of Bangladesh and Myanmar, as well as the UN, including the Secretary-General’s newly appointed Special Envoy on Myanmar Christine Schraner Burgener, to resolve the crisis and create the conditions allowing the safe, voluntary, and dignified repatriation of refugees to their homes in Rakhine State.

9 May 2018

 

 

 

Statement by the United Nations Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator in Myanmar, Knut Ostby, ten years after Cyclone Nargis

 

Statement by the United Nations Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator in Myanmar, Knut Ostby, ten years after Cyclone Nargis

 (Yangon, 2 May 2018): “Ten years ago today, Myanmar was devastated by cyclone Nargis – by far the worst natural disaster in the country’s history. The cyclone made landfall near Hainggyikyun in Ayeyarwady Region on 2 May 2008, with wind speeds of up to 200 kilometres per hour, accompanied by heavy rain and storm surges of up to 12 metres in certain areas. The cyclone left approximately 140,000 people dead or unaccounted for, with close to 2.4 million people affected in 37 townships in Ayeyarwady and Yangon regions.

On behalf of the United Nations, on this day that marks ten years since Cyclone Nargis, I would like to commemorate all those who died and who lost their loved ones in the tragic disaster. At the same time, I would like to take this opportunity to commend the strength and resilience of the people of Myanmar. Not only did they show courage in rebuilding their lives and their ruined communities in the immediate aftermath of Cyclone Nargis, but – drawing from the lessons of this disaster – they have contributed since then to Government-led efforts to reduce risks and to enhance disaster preparedness and response.

Myanmar remains one of the most disaster prone countries in Asia. With this in mind, the United Nations continues to work closely with the Government on disaster risk reduction and on disaster preparedness. A recent earthquake response simulation exercise supported by the United Nations is an example of this.

 

While remembering the victims of the catastrophic event in 2008, I would like to reiterate the commitment of the United Nations to continue supporting the Government of Myanmar in strengthening national capacity to prepare for and respond to natural disasters.”

 

 

 

ျမန္မာႏိုင္ငံဆိုင္ရာ ကုလသမဂၢ ဌာေနကိုယ္စားလွယ္ႏွင့္ လူသားခ်င္းစာနာမႈဆိုင္ရာ ညႇိႏႈိင္းေရးမႉး ခႏြတ္ေအာ့ဒ္စဘီ၏ ဆိုင္ကလုန္းမုန္တိုင္းတိုက္ခတ္မႈ ဆယ္ႏွစ္ျပည့္သည့္ေန႔အတြက္ ထုတ္ျပန္ခ်က္

ျမန္မာႏိုင္ငံဆိုင္ရာ ကုလသမဂ ဌာေနကိုယ္စားလွယ္ႏွင့္ လူသားခ်င္းစာနာမႈဆိုင္ရာ ညိႏႈိင္းေရးမး ခႏြတ္ေအာ့ဒ္စဘီ၏ ဆိုင္ကလုန္းမုန္တိုင္းတိုက္ခတ္မႈ ဆယ္ႏွစ္ျပည့္သည့္ေန႔အတြက္ ထုတ္ျပန္ခ်က္

(ရန္ကုန္၊ ၂ဝ၁၈ ခုႏွစ္ ေမလ ၂ ရက္) – “လြန္ခဲ့သည့္ ဆယ္ႏွစ္အခ်ိန္ယေန႔တြင္ ျမန္မာႏို္င္ငံသည္ ႏိုင္ငံ၏ သမိုင္း၌  အဆိုးရြား၊ အျပင္းထန္ဆံုးေသာ ဆိုင္ကလုန္းမုန္တိုင္း နာဂစ္ေၾကာင့္ ထိခိုက္ပ်က္စီးမႈမ်ား ႀကီးမားစြာ  ခံစားခဲ့ရ ပါသည္။ ၂ဝဝ၈ ခုႏွစ္ ေမလ ၂ ရက္ေန႔ တြင္ ေလတိုက္ႏႈန္း တစ္နာရီလွ်င္ ကီလိုမီတာ ၂ဝဝ ေက်ာ္အထိရွိခဲ့ၿပီး၊ မုိးမ်ား သည္း ထန္စြာ  ရြာသြန္းမႈႏွင့္အတူ အခ်ိဳ႕ေနရာမ်ားတြင္ မုန္တိုင္း ဒီေရမွာ ၁၂ မီတာ အထိ ျမင့္တက္ေစခဲ့ေသာ ဆိုင္ကလုန္း

မုန္တိုင္းမွာ ဧရာဝတီတိုင္းေဒသႀကီးရွိ ဟုိင္းႀကီးကၽြန္းၿမိဳ႕နယ္အနီးမွ  ျမန္မာႏိုင္ငံ ကုန္တြင္းပိုင္း သို႔ ဝင္ေရာက္ခဲ့ ပါသည္။ ဆိုင္ကလုန္းမုန္တိုင္း ေၾကာင့္ လူဦးေရ  ၁၄ဝ,ဝဝ ခန္႔ ေသဆံုးခဲ့ရျခင္း၊ သို႔မဟုတ္ ေပ်ာက္ဆံုးျခင္း တို႔ရွိခဲ့ၿပီး၊ ဧရာဝတီ တိုင္းေဒသႀကီးႏွင့္ ရန္ကုန္တိုင္းေဒသႀကီးတို႔ရွိ ၿမိဳ႕နယ္ ၃၇ ၿမိဳ႕နယ္မွ လူဦးေရ ၂.၄သန္း နီးပါးမွာ မုန္တိုင္းေၾကာင့္ ထိခိုက္ခံစားခဲ့ရပါသည္။

ျမန္မာႏို္င္ငံသို႔ ဆိုင္ကလုန္းမုန္တိုင္း ဝင္ေရာက္တိုက္ခတ္ခဲ့သည္မွာ ဆယ္ႏွစ္ျပည့္ေျမာက္ခဲ့သည့္ ယေန႔တြင္ကၽြန္ေတာ့္ အေနျဖင့္ ကုလသမဂၢအဖြဲ႔အစည္း၏ကိုယ္စား အဆိုပါ ေၾကကြဲဝမ္းနည္းဖြယ္ ေဘးအႏၲရာယ္ေၾကာင့္ေသဆံုးခဲ့ရသူ မ်ားႏွင့္ မိသားစုဝင္မ်ားဆံုးရံႈးခဲ့ရသူမ်ားအား ေအာက္ေမ့သတိရေၾကာင္းေျပာၾကားလိုပါသည္။ တစ္ခ်ိန္တည္းမွာပင္

ျမန္မာႏိုင္ငံရွိ ျပည္သူမ်ား ခြန္အားရွိစြာ ႀကံံ႕ႀကံ႕ခိုင္ရပ္တည္ႏိုင္မႈကိုလည္း  ခ်ီးက်ဴး ဂုဏ္ျပဳ ေျပာၾကား လိုပါသည္။ ျမန္မာႏိုင္ငံရွိ ျပည္သူလူထုမွာ ဆိုင္ကလုန္းမုန္တိုင္းတိုက္ခတ္ခဲ့ၿပီးေနာက္ ၄င္းတို႔၏ ဘဝမ်ားႏွင့္ ပ်က္စီးသြား ခဲ့ရေသာ ရပ္ရြာမ်ားကို  ျပန္လည္တည္ေဆာက္ႏိုင္သည့္ ခြန္အား၊ သတၲိကို ျပသခဲ့ရုံမွ်မက ၊ အဆိုပါ သဘာဝေဘး ႀကံဳေတြ႔ခဲ့ ရသည့္အျဖစ္အပ်က္မွသင္ခန္းစာယူၿပီး၊ ထိုအခ်ိန္မွစ၍ ႏိုင္ငံေတာ္အစိုးရမွ ဦးစီးေဆာင္ရြက္သည့္ ေဘးအႏၲရာယ္ ေလွ်ာ့ ခ်ေရး၊ ေဘးအႏၲရာယ္ႀကိဳတင္ ျပင္ဆင္ေရးႏွင့္ တုံ႔ျပန္ေဆာင္ရြက္ေရးတို႔ကို  တိုးျမႇင့္လုပ္ေဆာင္ႏိုင္ရန္ အား

ထုတ္ ႀကိဳးပမ္း ေဆာင္ရြက္မႈမ်ားတြင္ ပါဝင္ခဲ့ၾကပါသည္။

ျမန္မာႏိုင္ငံသည္ အာရွတိုက္တြင္သဘာဝေဘးအႏၲရာယ္ႀကံဳေတြ႔ႏိုင္ေျခ အမ်ားဆံုးရွိသည့္ႏို္င္ငံမ်ား အနက္မွ ႏိုင္ငံ တစ္ႏိုင္ငံအျဖစ္ ဆက္လက္ရွိေနဆဲျဖစ္ပါသည္။ ထိုအခ်က္ကိုသိမွတ္လ်က္၊ ကုလသမဂၢအဖြဲ႔အစည္းအေနျဖင့္  ေဘး အႏၲရာယ္ေလွ်ာ့ခ်ေရးႏွင့္ ေဘးအႏၲရာယ္ႀကိဳတင္ျပင္ဆင္ေရးတို႔တြင္ ႏိုင္ငံေတာ္အစိုးရႏွင့္ အနီးကပ္ဆက္လက္ လက္

တြဲေဆာင္ရြက္သြားမည္ျဖစ္ပါသည္။ ကုလသမဂၢ အဖြဲ႔အစည္းမွ ကူညီ ေဆာင္ရြက္ခဲ့သည့္  ေျမငလ်င္ေဘး တုံ႔ျပန္ေရး

သဏၭာန္တူ ေလ့က်င့္ျခင္းအစီအစဥ္မွာ ထိုေဆာင္ရြက္ခ်က္မ်ား၏ သာဓက တစ္ခုပင္ျဖစ္ပါသည္။

၂ဝဝ၈ ခုႏွစ္တြင္ ႀကံဳေတြ႔ခဲ့ရသည့္ ကပ္ဆိုးႀကီးအတြင္း အသက္ဆံုးရံႈး၊ ထိခိုက္ခံစားခဲ့ရသူမ်ားအား သတိရရင္း၊ သဘာဝေဘးအႏၲရာယ္မ်ားအတြက္ ႀကိဳတင္ျပင္ဆင္ျခင္းႏွင့္ တု႔ံုုျပန္ေဆာင္ရြက္ေရးလုပ္ငန္းမ်ားကို လုပ္ေဆာင္ရန္ တိုင္းျပည္၏ စြမ္းရည္ကို အားေကာင္းေစေရးေဆာင္ရြက္ရာတြင္ ကုလသမဂၢအဖြဲ႔အစည္းမွ ျမန္မာႏိုင္ငံေတာ္အစိုးရအား ဆက္လက္ပံ့ပိုး ကူညီေဆာင္ရြက္သြားပါမည္ဟူေသာ ကတိကဝတ္ကို ကၽြန္ေတာ့္အေနျဖင့္ ထပ္ေလာင္းေျပာၾကား လိုပါသည္။

TRANSCRIPT OF THE PRESS CONFERENCE AT THE END OF THE UN SECURITY COUNCIL’S VISIT TO MYANMAR

TRANSCRIPT OF THE PRESS CONFERENCE AT THE END OF

THE UN SECURITY COUNCIL’S VISIT TO MYANMAR

30 APRIL – 1 MAY 2018

UNSC President, Permanent Representative of Poland, Ms. Joanna Wronecka:

Good evening everybody, we are very pleased to be in Myanmar and I am particularly pleased because today Poland assumes the Presidency of the Security Council, for the month of May. I would like to pay tribute to my colleagues to my colleagues who prepared this visit, especially the previous Presidency, Ambassador, Permanent Representative of Peru and, Kuwait, who initiated our preparation and UK for a very substantial contribution to this visit.  My colleagues will share their impressions, but I would like to assure you that we are extremely happy and grateful to the authorities of Myanmar, for all arrangements.  We had a chance to visit your beautiful country.  To speak to different representatives of your society.  And I think now that we had very good information about the development of the country, about the humanitarian assistance.  Now I will encourage my colleagues to speak on their behalf.  Thank you.

Former UNSC President  H.E. Mr. Gustavo Meza-Cuadra, Permanent Representative of Peru:

Good afternoon, as our Presidency mentioned, yesterday and today, we had two important days, in this visit to Bangladesh and Myanmar.  The purpose of our visit, as you know, has been to assess and evaluate the situation on the ground.  The Security Council is very much concerned, about the refugee crisis so yesterday we had important meetings with the State Counsellor and also with the Chief of the Armed Forces, civil society, and today we had an important visit to Rakhine State.  We visited the area of the refugees.  Also we had very good encounters with the local population.  We visited the constructions that the Government is takin on at the border for the return of the refugees.  Also we visited areas where the local communities expressed their views regarding how the returnees can come back to their villages of origin.  This is an issue that we have been discussing at the Council as you know our views where we have very clearly stated in appreciation of the statement of the Security Council.  Yesterday we had a very open discussion where we presented our views regarding how best we can solve these difficult issues.  We also received the views of Government.  After that we will continue at the Security Council, evaluating how best we can proceed.  Basically the message that we conveyed was that it was very important to improve the security conditions of the return of the refugees.  Also the collaboration with international organizations, particularly United Nations, we also mentioned the importance of the investigations regarding what happened here before the refugees went to Bangladesh.  These were basically our discussion and now I will pass to my colleague the Ambassador.

H.E. Mr. Mansour Alotaibi, Permanent Representative of Kuwait

We  are very grateful to Myanmar’s Government for all the support and logistical assistance.  Without their help, without their assistance, we wouldn’t see what we saw in western Rakhine and the meetings which have been arranged, as my colleague says, the different sectors of the Government, civil society and many others.  So we are really thankful to the Myanmar Government for that.  What we really wanted as representatives of the Security Council was to see the agreement signed between Myanmar and Bangladesh to be implemented.  We saw that the Myanmar Government took many steps to implement the agreement.  But I think that there Is much that  Is… what we really want is for the refugees to go back to their homes.   We are assured by the officials that we met that they are doing that they want that to come back but there is conditions, restrictions.  Some UN Agencies, like UNHCr and UNDP, we know that they are in process to sign a memorandum of understanding between them and Myanmar Government.  We want to see that happening soon.  What we really want is just to speed up the process of the return of the refugees. A safe and voluntary and dignified return for them.  Thank you.

 

H.E, Ms. Karen Pierce, Permanent Representative of UK:

Thank you very much for coming.  Just to add to my colleagues, I’ll talk a little bit about next steps.  I think we want to assist both Governments as the Security Council.  We want to assist the Government of Bangladesh by drawing attention of international donors to the help that Bangladesh needs in mitigating the effects of the floods. The area that the Rohingya are in in Bangladesh, is prone to flooding and Bangladesh needs help so that it can manage the monsoon.  There’s a longer term question and not having its economic stability affected by hosting as many, one million or so refugees.  We want to assess the Government of Myanmar, both in the implementation of the Annan Plan and we talked a little bit about that with the representatives we met.  We also, as my colleagues have said, want to support the signing of the MoU and the implementation of the agreement with Bangladesh.  We believe the MoU can be signed quickly and UN agencies can be given unconditional access.  That would be the best thing to do to deal with the scale of the problem.  The one thing that I would like to stress the absolute scale of having to get one million refugees, back home in security and safety so that they could start their livelihoods over time, even if it takes a long time, we need to start on that.  I think the Council can play a helpful role by continuing to be united on this issue.  I think everybody on this Council has been moved by what they’ve seen on the trip and we want to preserve that unity so we can actually make a difference and we can accelerate progress on dealing with both the Annan Plan and also getting refugees back home.  Thank you.

Q&A:  7 Day News, BBC World, Myanmar Radio and Television, AFP in succession:

7 Day (translation):  What are your main findings during this trip?  Is there anything you would like to share with us?

BBC World: (to the British Permanent Representative) You yourself seem quite moved by what you’ve seen with the refugees in Cox’s Bazar.  You were then able to meet the head of the military whose troops stand accused of crimes against humanity and Aung San Suu Kyi, who stands accused of turning a blind eye to this.  Does Britain now believe that you should have a conversation within the Security Council about a resolution being passed, whereby  you recommend that the International Criminal Court investigates possible crimes against humanity.

MRTV:  (Translation) The Myanmar Government has said that it is ready to receive the people who have crossed into Bangladesh but there are groups that have gone over to Bangladesh and talked with these refugees  and they learned that these refugees were not aware of the procedures on returning  Your comments on that please.

AFP:  Have you been looking at whether the atrocities committed in Rakhine constituted genocide, and if so, have you come into any conclusion during this trip?

President – Frankly speaking, being in your country is a privilege for us.  We discovered an ancient civilization where many cultures coexisted already.  So there is a huge potential for an extremely positive dialogue in the future.  Of course we encourage the authorities to continue in that direction.  But the fact that we discussed all issues with civil society means that you have a vibrant civil society here, people who care about the future of your country and of the refugees.  We were somehow also so impressed by the frankness because all members also asked difficult questions, not only easy.  But definitely we have to work together to encourage, to somehow assist you in this very ambitious way for this transformation because it is a process of transformation.  One of your colleagues mentioned genocide and my colleagues will try to comment.  But we as diplomats, focus very much on the rules of international law.  And here it is important to follow the procedures we have within the system of the United Nations.  A Special Representative who is very well equipped and worked on it saw that we as a Security Council, we only give some incentives.  But there are people who are more qualified to do so.

UK – I’ll take the question from the BBC.  I think it is impossible not to be moved by what one heard in Cox’s Bazar and particularly the scale of it. (Inaudible)  But I think everybody knows some of the stories that those poor people have been through.  Yes, there must be a proper investigation.  One can tell stories and those stories are very moving.  But in order to have accountability, you need a proper investigation with evidentiary standards.  There are two ways of doing that.  One is an ICC, an International Criminal Court Referral is (inaudible).  And the second is for the Burmese Government to do that themselves.  And we were able to raise this both with the Senior General and with Daw Suu herself.  Now she was helpful.  She said, “If there was evidence, then it should be given to the Burmese authorities and they would undertake a proper investigation.  We know that there had been a couple of prosecutions already.  I think what would constitute a more effective response would be something that was scaled up from that.  The Security Council will now go away and reflect on how best we can respond to the State Counsellor with her offer and what the best next steps might be.  We don’t yet have an investigation mechanism to provide her with evidence.  That would be the first step.  As I say, there’s more than one route to that end.  Thank you.  ENDS.

Myanmar: UN expert says civilians must be protected as Kachin violence mounts

Myanmar: UN expert says civilians must be protected as Kachin violence mounts

GENEVA (1 May 2018) – A UN human rights expert has expressed grave concerns over a sharp escalation in hostilities in Myanmar’s Kachin State, which has reportedly killed at least 10 civilians, left several wounded and forced thousands to flee their homes in the north of the country.

The Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Myanmar, Yanghee Lee, said she had received reports that the military had carried out aerial bombings, and used heavy weapons and artillery fire against civilian areas near the Chinese border.

“What we are seeing in Kachin State over the past few weeks is wholly unacceptable, and must stop immediately,” Lee said. “Innocent civilians are being killed and injured, and hundreds of families are now fleeing for their lives.

“Civilians must never be subjected to violence during the course of conflict.All parties must take all necessary measures to ensure their safety and security,” she added.

In March, Lee told the Human Rights Council in Geneva that as the world’s attention was focused on the crisis in Rakhine State, violence was escalating in other areas such as Kachin.

She urged all parties to the conflict to abide by their obligations under international humanitarian law, and said it was incumbent upon all forces to observe the principles of distinction, proportionality and precaution.

According to UN reports, more than 5,000 civilians have been displaced from villages near the border with China inthelast three weeks. Children, pregnant women, the elderly and people with disabilities are among those displaced.

Lee said she had received reports that a food convoy organised by the Myanmar Red Cross was prevented from entering the village of Man Wai on 23 April. More than 100 civilians have been trapped in the village for three weeks with no or very limited access to food, medicine and other items needed for survival.

“All parties to the conflict must allow the passage of humanitarian assistance,” the Special Rapporteur said. “Any wilful impediment of relief supplies may amount to war crimes under international law.”

ENDS

Yanghee Lee (Republic of Korea) was appointed by the UN Human Rights Council in 2014 as the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Myanmar. She is independent from any government or organization and serves in her individual capacity. Ms. Lee served as member and chairperson of the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child (2003-2011). She is currently a professor at Sungkyunwan University, Seoul, and serves on the Advisory Committee of the National Human Rights Commission of Korea. Ms. Lee is the founding President of International Child Rights Center.

The Special Rapporteurs are part of what is known as the Special Procedures of the Human Rights Council. Special Procedures, the largest body of independent experts in the UN Human Rights system, is the general name of the Council’s independent fact-finding and monitoring mechanisms. Special Procedures mandate-holders are independent human rights experts appointed by the Human Rights Council to address either specific country situations or thematic issues in all parts of the world. They are not UN staff and are independent from any government or organization. They serve in their individual capacity and do not receive a salary for their work.

UN Human Rights, country page: Myanmar

For more information and media requests, please contact: Pradeep Wagle (+41 22 917 98 66 / pwagle@ohchr.org)
For media inquiries related to other UN independent experts: Jeremy Laurence, UN Human Rights – Media Unit (+41 22 9179383 / jlaurence@ohchr.org)  

This year, 2018, is the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, adopted by the UN on 10 December 1948. The Universal Declaration – translated into a world record 500 languages – is rooted in the principle that “all human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights.” It remains relevant to everyone, every day. In honour of the 70thanniversary of this extraordinarily influential document, and to prevent its vital principles from being eroded, we are urging people everywhere to Stand Up for Human Rightswww.standup4humanrights.org.

Tag and share – Twitter: @UNHumanRights and Facebook: unitednationshumanrights

 

 

 

UN experts call on Myanmar to drop prosecution of Reuters reporters

UN experts call on Myanmar to drop prosecution of Reuters reporters

 

GENEVA (12 April 2018) – A Myanmar court’s decision to continue pursuing a case against two Reuters reporters gives rise to grave concern for investigative journalism and the public’s right to information in the country, UN experts* have said.

 “We urge the prosecution to drop the charges against Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo, and we urge the Government to release both journalists immediately,” the experts said.

 On 11 April 2018, a court in Yangon rejected a motion to dismiss the case against the two reporters. It scheduled a hearing for 20 April 2018 to hear additional prosecution witnesses. 

 Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo were reporting on the widespread assault on the Rohingya population in Rakhine State when authorities arrested them on 12 December 2017. The authorities accuse the journalists of illegally acquiring information with the intention of sharing it with foreign media.  On 21 December 2017, UN experts raised concern that the charges brought against the reporters under the 1923 Official Secrets Act are tantamount to the criminalisation of journalism in Myanmar.

 On 10 April 2018, seven soldiers were sentenced to 10 years in prison with hard labor in a remote area for participating in a massacre of 10 Rohingya Muslim men in a village in Rakhine State.

 “The perpetrators of a massacre that was, in part, the subject of Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo’s reporting have been sentenced to 10 years imprisonment. And yet these two reporters face a possible 14 years imprisonment. The absurdity of this trial and the wrongfulness of their detention and prosecution are clear,” the experts said.

 “We urge the Government to ensure not only the protection and release of Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo. We also urge the Government to ensure that investigative journalism, especially journalism relating to human rights violations and the situation in Rakhine State, is duly protected in Myanmar.”

 The Special Rapporteurs are in contact with the Myanmar authorities concerning the case.

 ENDS

 *The UN experts: David Kaye,Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression; andYanghee LeeSpecial Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Myanmar.

The Special Rapporteurs and Working Groups are part of what is known as the Special Procedures of the Human Rights Council. Special Procedures, the largest body of independent experts in the UN Human Rights system, is the general name of the Council’s independent fact-finding and monitoring mechanisms that address either specific country situations or thematic issues in all parts of the world. Special Procedures’ experts work on a voluntary basis; they are not UN staff and do not receive a salary for their work. They are independent from any government or organization and serve in their individual capacity.

UN Human Rights, Country Page: Myanmar 

For more information and media requests, please contact:
In Geneva (after the visit): Ms. Azin Tadjdini (
atadjdini@ohchr.org/ + 41 22 917 9400).

For media inquiries related to other UN independent experts please contact
Jeremy Laurence, UN Human Rights – Media Unit (+41 22 917 9383 / 
jlaurence@ohchr.org)

This year, 2018, is the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, adopted by the UN on 10 December 1948. The Universal Declaration – translated into a world record 500 languages – is rooted in the principle that “all human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights.” It remains relevant to everyone, every day. In honour of the 70th anniversary of this extraordinarily influential document, and to prevent its vital principles from being eroded, we are urging people everywhere to Stand Up for Human Rightswww.standup4humanrights.org.

 

 

UN DEPUTY HUMANITARIAN CHIEF: “ALL PEOPLE AFFECTED BY HUMANITARIAN CRISES IN MYANMAR MUST GET THE ASSISTANCE AND PROTECTION THEY NEED”

UN DEPUTY HUMANITARIAN CHIEF: “ALL PEOPLE AFFECTED BY HUMANITARIAN CRISES IN MYANMAR MUST GET THE ASSISTANCE AND PROTECTION THEY NEED”

(Yangon/New York, 8 April 2018): At the conclusion today of a six-day mission to Myanmar, Assistant Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Deputy Emergency Relief Coordinator Ursula Mueller called for strengthened humanitarian action based on the rights and needs of all communities, in line with international law and humanitarian principles.

“Protecting the most vulnerable people in Myanmar must be at the heart of the humanitarian response by the international community, national aid organizations and the Government,” said Ms. Mueller. “Wherever they are in the country and regardless of their ethnicity, religion and citizenship status, we need to work together to ensure that no vulnerable conflict-affected people are deprived of safe and sustained access to humanitarian protection and assistance. No-one in Myanmar should be left behind on the path towards a better future.”

At the outset of her mission, the Deputy Emergency Relief Coordinator met with State Counsellor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi. They discussed the importance of ending conflict and of strengthening peace and reconciliation efforts. Ms. Mueller reaffirmed the commitment of the United Nations to supporting peace, stability, and development in Myanmar. She offered the continued support of the United Nations and its humanitarian partners to ensure that all people affected by conflict and natural disasters get the humanitarian protection and assistance they need. They agreed on the importance of strengthening national capacities. Ms. Mueller noted the efforts being made by the UN to strengthen the nexus between humanitarian, development and peace-building efforts.

The Deputy Emergency Relief Coordinator also met with the Ministers of Defence, Border Affairs, International Cooperation, and the Minister of Social Welfare, Relief and Resettlement. The meetings with the Union Government were an opportunity to discuss humanitarian challenges in Rakhine, Kachin, and Shan states as well as the collaborative efforts of the international community and the Government on disaster preparedness efforts.

In Rakhine State, the Deputy Emergency Relief Coordinator visited camps where about 130,000 people, most of whom identify themselves as Rohingya, remain confined in deplorable conditions after almost six years of displacement. In Maungdaw Township, she met with local communities affected by last year’s violence. Ms. Mueller also visited a refugee return transit site that the Government is constructing, some new housing projects, and witnessed areas where villages had been burned down or bulldozed.

“There is a humanitarian crisis on both sides of the Bangladesh-Myanmar border that is affecting the world’s largest group of stateless people,” said Ms. Mueller. “The unfolding tragedy in the refugee camps in Cox’s Bazar rightly captured the world’s attention, but we cannot, and must not, forget the plight of over 400,000 Muslim people still living in Rakhine State who continue to face a life of hardship and marginalization due to movement restrictions. These restrictions severely compromise their rights and obstruct their access to health, livelihoods, protection, education, and other essential services.”

“The Advisory Commission on Rakhine State has provided an important roadmap towards a better future for all communities in Rakhine State, but its recommendations need to be implemented holistically and impartially, in the spirit that they were written,” said Ms. Mueller. “The lives of the poorest and most vulnerable communities of Rakhine State, whether they are ethnic Rakhine, Muslim, or from other minority groups, will be profoundly transformed if each recommendation is genuinely addressed and implemented. The conditions for the dignified, voluntary, and sustainable return of refugees and positive outcomes for internally displaced people in camps slated for closure can only be reached if the critical issues of freedom of movement, social cohesion, livelihoods, and access to services are addressed.”

The Deputy Emergency Relief Coordinator welcomed the access that she was granted by the Government to visit communities in different parts of Rakhine. She was concerned, however, by the continued restrictions imposed by the authorities on the movement of the Muslim population, as well as the continued restrictions faced by humanitarian workers.

In her meeting with officials in the Rakhine State Government, Ms. Mueller called for movement restrictions to be dropped and for practical measures to be taken to allow humanitarian workers sustained and unfettered access to all people in need of humanitarian assistance and protection, in line with the recommendations of the Advisory Commission on Rakhine State.

“Humanitarian access in Myanmar has significantly worsened in the past year, not only in Rakhine but also in Kachin and Shan States. When you cut that humanitarian lifeline, there is a very real human impact,” said Ms. Mueller. “I was able to go to northern Rakhine and to some of the camps in Kachin State, but what matters most is that the people affected by violence and restrictions in these areas are themselves given access to the assistance and services they so desperately need.”

In Kachin State, the Deputy Emergency Relief Coordinator met with representatives of international and national humanitarian organizations and visited camps where she spoke with displaced people. She also met with a group of women and girls who were taking action to respond to the needs of women in displaced communities, including preventing gender-based violence. The women emphasized the importance of prevention and education in building stronger, safer communities, and presented a joint letter to the Deputy Emergency Relief Coordinator raising critical concerns shared by displaced women across Kachin.

At least 10,000 people have been newly displaced or re-displaced by fighting between the Myanmar Military and ethnic armed groups in Kachin and Shan States since the beginning of the year, while about 100,000 people remain displaced as a result of the conflict between the Myanmar Army and the Kachin Independence Army that restarted in 2011. Ms. Mueller was particularly impressed by the work of local civil society organizations. She met with representatives of a number of different local organizations and commended them on their outstanding work. She was encouraged to see that the Myanmar Humanitarian Fund channels more than 40 per cent of its funding through national organizations.

“The conflict in Kachin is one the world’s longest running, yet it is a forgotten humanitarian crisis,” said Ms. Mueller. “Clashes break out near displacement camps and civilian areas, landmines are still being placed in the fields and roads of Kachin and Shan States, and people continue to flee their homes. I call on all sides to ensure the protection of all civilians wherever they are, in line with international law.”

During her mission, Ms. Mueller also discussed ways of strengthening disaster preparedness and response. “Myanmar is one of the most disaster-prone countries in the world and the last time I was here was nearly ten years ago in the tragic aftermath of Cyclone Nargis,” said Ms. Mueller. “I see that much has changed since then and while disaster risk reduction efforts need to be further enhanced, the Government and national organizations have made excellent progress in recent years in building national capacity for disaster preparedness and response.”

More funding is urgently required for the Myanmar Humanitarian Response Plan for 2018, which calls for $183 million to meet the needs of 832,000 people in Rakhine, Kachin, Shan, and Kayin States.

For further information, please contact:

In Myanmar: Pierre Peron, +95 9250198997, peronp@un.org
In New York: Russell Geekie, +1 917 331 0393, geekie@un.org
In Geneva: Jens Laerke, +41 79 472 9750, laerke@un.org
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Kindest regards,

OCHA Myanmar

OCHA shares messages/documents with the Humanitarian Country Team (HCT) to inform decision-making and planning amongst humanitarian partners. These messages/documents are internal and not for sharing publicly. HCT members should use their discretion in sharing material with other operational partners. Publicly available material is disseminated separately by OCHA. For enquiries, contact: ochamyanmar@un.org

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Statement by Adama Dieng, United Nations Special Adviser on the Prevention of Genocide, on his visit to Bangladesh to assess the situation of Rohingya refugees from Myanmar

UNITED NATIONS
PRESS RELEASE  

 

For immediate release

 

Statement by Adama Dieng, United Nations Special Adviser on the Prevention of Genocide, on his visit to Bangladesh to assess the situation of Rohingya refugees from Myanmar

(Dhaka, 13 March 2018) From 7 to 13 March I visited Bangladesh to assess the situation of the Rohingya population who have crossed the border from Myanmar to Bangladesh since the most recent incidents of violence in northern Rakhine state in October 2016 and August 2017. During my visit, I had the opportunity to meet Bangladeshi authorities, civil society actors and members of the diplomatic community. I also visited refugee camps in Cox’s Bazaar, where survivors I met shared horrifying stories of what they have endured.

What I have heard and witnessed in Cox’s Bazaar is a human tragedy with the fingerprints of the Myanmar government and of the international community. The scorched earth campaign carried out by the Myanmar security forces since August 2017 against the Rohingya population was predictable and preventable. Despite the numerous warnings I have made of the risk of atrocity crimes, the international community has buried its head in the sand. This has cost the Rohingya population of Myanmar their lives, their dignity and their homes.

Let us be clear: international crimes were committed in Myanmar. Rohingya Muslims have been killed, tortured, raped, burnt alive and humiliated, solely because of who they are. All the information I have received indicates that the intent of the perpetrators was to cleanse northern Rakhine state of their existence, possibly even to destroy the Rohingya as such, which, if proven, would constitute the crime of genocide. However, whether or not we consider that the crimes committed amount to crimes against humanity or genocide, this should not delay our resolve to act and to act immediately. We owe this to the Rohingya population.

 

First, the root causes of the problem must be addressed. Only then can this population return in safety and dignity to Myanmar. The fate of the Rohingya has been sealed since the day they were born. A fate of persecution and exclusion. We must change this and give them the opportunity that every human being should be afforded in life: to enjoy their fundamental human rights in freedom and safety. The recommendations of the Rakhine Advisory Commission provide a road map for the Myanmar Government. As a priority the stateless status of the Rohingya community must end and the issue of their citizenship be addressed properly and definitively.

Second, there must be accountability for the crimes that have been committed. I am perplexed by the denial of the widespread commission of serious crimes that has characterized the response of the Myanmar authorities. I urge the international community, in particular the United Nations Security Council, to consider different accountability options. The world needs to show that it is not ready to tolerate such barbaric acts.

Third, the Rohingya must receive protection and support as refugees while in Bangladesh. I welcome the remarkable work done by the Bangladeshi authorities in responding to the arrival of almost 700,000 Rohingya refugees in Cox’s Bazar in the space of six months. I call on the international community to do more to support Bangladesh in shouldering this responsibility by providing support to the refugees and host communities. The social and economic strains and the environmental impact that this influx of refugees is placing on the area and the host community is clearly visible. I encourage the Bangladesh government to facilitate more dialogue between the two communities to avoid misperceptions and the build-up of tension.

I was encouraged by the commitment made by the Bangladeshi authorities I met that refugees would not be repatriated against their will. What I have heard and seen makes it clear that the majority of the Rohingya want to return to Myanmar, but only when they are able to do so in safety, dignity and with access to the basic rights that are fundamental to us all. So far, the Myanmar authorities have shown no genuine efforts to allow this. In fact, refugees continue to cross the border. It is imperative also that the Rohingya, while in Bangladesh, are afforded more chances to uplift themselves educationally and through access to livelihoods. Doing so will help them both in Bangladesh and when they are able to return to Myanmar.

We must not fail the Rohingya population again. They have endured what no human beings should have to endure. The solution to this problem lies first and foremost with the Myanmar authorities, by creating the conditions for the Rohingya population to return home in safety and be entitled to the same rights as any other citizen of Myanmar. The international community also has a responsibility to protect this population from the risk of further atrocity crimes. Under the present conditions, returning to Myanmar will put the Rohingya population at risk of further crimes. However, accepting the current status quo would be a victory for those who planned the attacks. We must not accept either of these scenarios.

* *** *

For media queries please contact:

Claudia Diaz, Office on Genocide Prevention and the Responsibility to Protect

www.un.org/genocideprevention

Email: diazc@un.org