THE SECRETARY GENERAL MESSAGE FOR THE INTERNATIONAL DAY OF PEACE

အျပည္ျပည္ဆိုင္ရာၿငိမ္းခ်မ္းေရးေန႔အတြက္ ကုလသမဂၢအတြင္းေရးမွဴးခ်ဳပ္၏ သဝဏ္လႊာ
၂၀၁၉-ခုႏွစ္၊ စက္တင္ဘာလ ၂၁-ရက္

ကုလသမဂၢ၏ ေဆာင္ရြက္ခ်က္အားလံုးတြင္ ၿငိမ္းခ်မ္းေရးကို ႏွလံုးသြင္းထားပါသည္။

ၿငိမ္းခ်မ္းေရး၏သေဘာသည္ စစ္ေဘးကင္းစင္ေသာ ကမၻာႀကီးတည္ရွိျခင္းထက္ ပိုက်ယ္ျပန္႔ပါသည္။

ၿငိမ္းခ်မ္းေရးသည္ အေျခခံလြတ္လပ္ခြင့္မ်ားကို လူတိုင္းခံစားကာ ရွင္သန္ႏိုင္ၿပီး အေျခခံလိုအပ္ခ်က္မ်ားအတြက္ ရုန္းကန္ေနရျခင္းမရွိသည့္ ႀကံႀကံခံႏိုင္ေသာ၊ တည္ၿငိမ္ေသာ လူ႔အဖြဲ႔အစည္းရွိျခင္းကို ဆိုလိုပါသည္။

ယေန႔ ၿငိမ္းခ်မ္းေရးသည္ အႏၱရာယ္သစ္ကို ရင္ဆိုင္ေနရသည္။ ရာသီဥတုဆိုင္ရာ အေရးေပၚအေျခအေနသည္ ကၽြႏု္ပ္တို႔၏ လံုၿခံဳမႈ၊ ကၽြႏ္ုပ္တို႔၏ အသက္ေမြးဝမ္းေက်ာင္းႏွင့္ ကၽြႏု္ပ္တို႔၏ အသက္တို႔ကို ၿခိမ္းေျခာက္ေနပါသည္။

သို႔ျဖစ္၍ ရာသီဥတုဆိုင္ရာအေရးေပၚအေျခအေနသည္ ယခုႏွစ္ အျပည္ျပည္္ဆိုင္ရာၿငိမ္းခ်မ္းေရးေန႔၏ အဓိကအခ်က္ျဖစ္သည္။

ထုိ႔ေၾကာင့္ ရာသီဥတုဆိုင္ရာလႈပ္ရွားမႈ ထိပ္သီးညီလာခံတစ္ခုကို ကၽြႏု္ပ္ စီစဥ္ေနပါသည္။

ဤသည္မွာ တစ္ကမၻာလံုးႏွင့္ဆိုင္ေသာ အေရးေပၚအေျခအေနျဖစ္ပါသည္။

အတူတကြေဆာင္ရြက္ၾကမွသာ ကၽြႏု္ပ္တို႔ ေနထိုင္ေသာ ဤကမၻာေျမဟာ ကၽြႏ္ုပ္တို႔အတြက္ သာမက ေနာင္လာေနာက္သားမ်ားအတြက္ပါ ၿငိမ္းခ်မ္း သာယာဝေျပာၿပီး လံုၿခံဳပါလိမ့္မည္။

ယခုႏွစ္အျပည္ျပည္ဆိုင္ရာၿငိမ္းခ်မ္းေရးေန႔တြင္ သင္တို႔အားလံုးကို ရာသီဥတုဆိုင္ရာ ခိုင္မာသည့္လႈပ္ရွားမႈလုပ္ေဆာင္ၾကၿပီး သင္တို႔ရဲ႕ေခါင္းေဆာင္မ်ားကိုလည္း ထိုကဲ့သို႔ုလုပ္ေဆာင္ၾကဖို႔ တုက္တြန္းလိုပါသည္။

ဤစိန္ေခၚမႈၿပိဳင္ပြဲကို ကၽြႏု္ပ္တို႔ အႏိုင္ရရွိႏိုင္ပါသည္။ ႏိုင္ကုိႏိုင္ရမည့္ ၿပိဳင္ပြဲႀကီး ျဖစ္ပါသည္။

 

THE SECRETARY GENERAL

MESSAGE FOR THE INTERNATIONAL DAY OF PEACE
21 September 2019

Peace is at the heart of all our work at the United Nations.

And we know peace is much more than a world free of war.

It means resilient, stable societies where everyone can enjoy fundamental freedoms and thrive rather than struggle to meet basic needs.

Today peace faces a new danger: the climate emergency, which threatens our security, our livelihoods and our lives.

That is why it is the focus of this year’s International Day of Peace.

And it’s why I am convening a Climate Action Summit.

This is a global crisis.

Only by working together can we make our only home peaceful, prosperous and safe for us and future generations.

On this International Day of Peace, I urge all of you:

take concrete climate action and demand it of your leaders.

This is a race we can and must win.

#

For Video Link: https://www.facebook.com/UNICYangon/videos/511652932743910/

SIGNS OF CHANGE IN YANGON

Monday, 23rd September, is the International Day of Sign Languages. UNIC Yangon visited a special cafe in downtown Yangon and wrote this story.

At first, it seemed like just another review of a new local café by a Facebook friend. But the name and concept of the café caught my attention. It is called “The Able” and it is run by people with disabilities.

Located in a small room in downtown Yangon, it was easy to miss without knowing about the place. There were clues, as if it were a game to try to locate the place.

The first clues were sketches of two hands at the bottom of a dark stairway. As I ascended the steps, a sign, scrawled on the wall said, “The Able, Sign Language Book Café, Embracing differences, Empowering inclusivity”.

The café only employs people with a hearing impairment. It was founded by Myo and three friends on a shoe-string budget. To communicate with staff, he and his friends learned sign language.

Slowly, they heard stories of challenges faced by people who only communicated in sign language: the waitress who lost her job because she was unable to explain a mishap; the young man with an incredible talent for art but was unable to attend school.

While I was there, a customer arrived. He conversed fluently in sign language. I watched him place his order and noticed that the staff were exchanging more than just the details of his order. The faces of the staff lit up and I was enthralled at their rapport. Here was inclusivity taking place and the feeling of empowerment by the staff was palpable.

Myo told me how important it was for the staff to feel a sense of belonging and non-discrimination.

The Able Café leaves no one behind. Here was diversity without fanfare- the Sustainable Development Goals in action. The concept of employing people with disabilities is not new.

This was the first social enterprise in Myanmar that employed people with a hearing impairment and who communicated only in sign language. The concept was new, and this was a beginning. The Able Café was a sign of things to come for people who communicated in sign language.

#IDSL2019 #IWDeaf2019

UN expert implores Myanmar’s Suu Kyi: “open your eyes, listen, feel with your heart”

UN expert implores Myanmar’s Suu Kyi: “open your eyes, listen, feel with your heart”

GENEVA (17 September 2019) – A UN human rights expert has implored Myanmar’s civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi to ‘feel with her heart before it is too late’, saying that even if refugees wished to return they have little to go back to.

Yanghee Lee, the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Myanmar, told the Human Rights Council the situation in Myanmar was of extreme concern, and was not what she and others had hoped to see nearly four years after the election of the National League for Democracy.

“I would like to ask the State Counsellor if the Myanmar that exists today is what she had truly aspired to bring about throughout the decades of her relentless fight for a free and democratic Myanmar? I implore you Madame State Counsellor to open your eyes, listen, feel with your heart, and please use your moral authority, before it is too late.”

Despite international condemnation, Lee said Myanmar had done nothing to dismantle the system of violence and persecution against Rohingya, and that the Rohingya who remain in Rakhine live in the same dire circumstances that they did prior to the events of August 2017.

“They are denied citizenship and recognition, face regular violence (including in the context of the ongoing conflict between the Arakan Army and the Tatmadaw), are unable to move freely and have little access to food, healthcare, education, livelihoods and services,” she said.

“Myanmar claims to have done what is necessary for the repatriation to be successful, and continues to blame Bangladesh for any delay,” she said. “However, information I have leads me to believe that the contrary is true.”

Lee noted that satellite imagery showed the development of 34 camps, but said their precise purpose was unclear. She said they may be intended to detain the remaining Rohingya population and those who decide to return.

She said satellite imagery shows the extent of development in northern Rakhine, including six military bases that had been built on the site of destroyed Rohingya villages. Of the 392 villages that were destroyed, there has been no attempt to reconstruct 320 of them, with 40 percent of villages having been completely razed to the ground. “Some of that demolition occurred in 2018 and some even in 2019, and all of this is completely antithetical to the claim that Myanmar is ready to receive the refugees. I further note that under Myanmar’s land laws, burned land reverts to Government ownership. In this situation, even if the refugees wished to return to Myanmar, what have they got to go back to?”

Lee added: “My belief is unwavering that accountability is necessary for the country as a whole, as well as being key to successful repatriation: it will bring about an end to the military’s violence against ethnic minorities in Myanmar and the possibility that the Rohingya could live safely in Rakhine.”

The Special Rapporteur also expressed concern about conflict between the Tatmadaw and the Arakan Army, and accusations of indiscriminate use of heavy artillery fire, gunfire and landmines in civilian areas and civilians were killed as a result.

She said that in August the conflict in northern Shan worsened after coordinated attacks by the Myanmar National Democratic Alliance Army, the Ta’ang National Liberation Army and the Arakan Army, known as the Three Brotherly Alliance. The attacks sparked intense fighting between the Tatmadaw and the ethnic armed organisations across inhabited areas and along main roads in northern Shan.

“Weeks of fighting were waged with disregard for the safety, welfare and rights of civilians.” Targeted and indiscriminate use of heavy artillery fire as well as landmines reportedly caused at least 17 civilian deaths and temporarily displaced an estimated 8,000 people in northern Shan, 1,600 of them remain displaced now.

ENDS

Ms. 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 and Independent Experts are part of 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 contactGeorgia Drake (+41-22928 9780 / gdrake@ohchr.org).

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

Statement to the 42nd session of the Human Rights Council Marzuki Darusman, Chair of the Independent International Fact-Finding Mission on Myanmar 17 September 2019

Madame Vice President,

Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen,

Exactly one year ago, this Mission concluded that the Myanmar authorities, in particular the Tatmadaw, committed crimes against humanity and war crimes against ethnic communities in Myanmar. We found genocidal acts and the inference of genocidal intent, in the Tatmadaw’s 2017 “clearance operations” against the Rohingya population.  For decades, Myanmar’s security forces have enjoyed impunity for their brutal crimes. We called on the Government of Myanmar and the international community to step up to their responsibility to ensure accountability for perpetrators and justice for victims. We recommended further investigation of these crimes to establish individual criminal responsibility as a basis for future prosecution.

I commend this Council for taking the historic decision to mandate an Independent Investigative Mechanism for Myanmar to do exactly that, and I am pleased to report that the Mission has completed the transfer of its materials to the Investigative Mechanism in full compliance with the mandate given to us.  This includes 1,227 interviews with victims and witnesses from a total of 56,500 files.  We are confident that the materials we have shared, including a list of over one hundred and fifty people suspected of involvement in numerous international crimes, will serve as an important foundation upon which potential prosecution cases can be prepared. We underline the time-sensitive nature of this information and we encourage the Myanmar Mechanism to make the best use of these files.

Over the last year, this Mission continued its investigations. It produced three additional thematic reports as conference room papers, one on the economic interests of Myanmar’s military, one on sexual and gender-based violence and the gendered impact of Myanmar’s ethnic conflicts, and one on conflict-related and other human rights violations.

Let me begin by highlighting some key findings in relation to our thematic research.

In mapping out the Tatmadaw’s vast economic interests in Myanmar, we sought to provide a roadmap for economic disengagement from the Tatmadaw aimed not only at States and inter-governmental organisations but also at the business community, including international and domestic investors. The purpose of this research is to deter continued and future violations, and ensure accountability for perpetrators. I am pleased to report that, following the publication of our research, a number of entities have already indicated that they will halt economic dealings with Tatmadaw businesses. I call on other businesses and States to follow suit. I also reiterate our recommendation regarding the need for targeted sanctions against Tatmadaw leaders and their businesses and for investors to prioritise investing in non-military sectors of the Myanmar economy.

Regarding sexual and gender-based violence, the Mission presented a detailed and painful picture of grave patterns of rapes, gang rapes and other gender-based violence against ethnic communities in Myanmar, including with respect to men and boys and transgender people. These crimes leave lasting marks, which is why the report provided Member States with an understanding of the gendered impact of the ethnic conflicts. The Mission renews its call to action for accountability for these grave crimes, which has been highly inadequate so far.

Madame Vice President,

We looked at the pattern of commonalities in experiences of ethnic minorities in Rakhine, Chin, Shan, Kachin, and Kayin States.

With regard to the Rohingya, the situation of some 600,000 Rohingya remaining in Rakhine State is largely unchanged. The underlying persecutory structural and systemic policies and practices continue.

The discriminatory laws, including the 1982 Citizenship Law, remain in effect. The Government’s insistence on a citizenship process based on the national verification cards is disingenuous. They continue to be used as a tool of persecution, rather than leading to inclusion through citizenship, they further exclude the Rohingya, many of whom historically were accepted as citizens of Myanmar and should again be recognized as such.

Contrary to the Government’s claims, camps for internally displaced persons have not been closed. Those who live in them continue to face daily hardships associated with living segregated from the rest of the communities. If anything, the situation of the Rohingya in Rakhine State has worsened, as they endure another year subjected to discrimination, segregation, movement restrictions and insecurity, without adequate access to livelihoods, land, basic services, including education and health care, or justice for past crimes committed against them by the Tatmadaw.

We conclude that there is a strong inference of continued genocidal intent on the part of the State in relation to the Rohingya, that there is a serious risk of genocide recurring and that Myanmar is failing in its obligations under the Genocide Convention to prevent genocide, to investigate genocide and to enact effective legislation criminalizing and punishing genocide. Let me be clear. The policies, laws, individuals and institutions that laid the groundwork for the brutal “clearance operations” in 2016 and 2017 remain in place and strong. Impunity continues. Discrimination continues. Hate speech continues. Persecution continues.

The return of close to one million Rohingya refugees to Rakhine State is simply impossible under the current circumstances. There is nowhere safe and viable for them to return to. Rohingya lands and villages have been destroyed, cleared, confiscated and built on, including new structures that resemble camps, with Rohingya forced labour. The Government’s repatriation plans are inadequate. For this reason, we recommend a moratorium on domestic and international investment and development assistance in Rakhine State to ensure that investment and development assistance do not directly, indirectly or inadvertently consolidate the Tatmadaw’s persecution and genocidal intentions against the Rohingya population.

Madame Vice President,

Many of the hallmarks of the Tatmadaw’s operations, including its infamous “four cuts” strategy, aimed at cutting funding, food, recruits and intelligence of insurgent groups, are evident again in its recent conflict with the Arakan Army. Serious violations of human rights and humanitarian law have been committed in a series of Tatmadaw attacks in northern Rakhine State and southern Chin State in the past months. Civilians, mostly ethnic minorities, are suffering the brunt of this latest conflict.  The Tatmadaw and the Arakan Army must stop the violence.

In the recent conflict between the Tatmadaw and the Arakan Army a “fifth cut” has come to the fore, in the form of “cutting information”. A clampdown on freedom of expression, association and information, through a series of legal actions against individual journalists, restrictions on journalists’ access to the conflict areas and an internet shutdown, have deprived the population of the ability to communicate with the outside world and prevented the outside world from learning about the military operations in Rakhine. Notwithstanding the need to curb hate speech, this Tatmadaw strategy does not seem to have that legitimate objective and has been replicated in other parts of the country.

Regarding the situation in northern Myanmar, relative lulls in active hostilities in Kachin State are contrasted with intensified hostilities in Shan State, most notably since last month. A number of attacks by parties to the conflict that have led to death and injury to the civilian populations. They need to be further investigated to ascertain responsibility. Sexual and gender-based violence against women and girls in northern Myanmar continues. The situation is volatile and is at risk of spiraling out of control. This Mission calls for restraint by all parties in northern Myanmar to settle their differences through negotiated peace, with the participation of all ethnic groups affected.

Madame Vice President,

The human rights catastrophe continues. The Government of Myanmar seems unconcerned.

This Mission firmly believes that international monitoring and public reporting are essential to ensure fact-based advocacy. Myanmar continues its state of denial. It has declined all dialogue with us and this is deeply regrettable.  It shows a lack of good faith towards human rights mechanisms, including this Mission.

That said, the Mission firmly believes that international advocacy works. The release of the two Reuters journalists, Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo in May, is an example of that. In order to act effectively, the international community must have reliable and verified information. For this reason, the Human Rights Council must mandate properly resourced regular, robust, monitoring, investigations and reporting.

On behalf of the Mission and my fellow Experts, Radhika Coomaraswamy and Chris Sidoti, I take this opportunity to thank the Human Rights Council for entrusting us with the honour of serving on this Mission and the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights for its support. Most importantly, we also thank the hundreds of victims, witnesses, civil society organizations and other interlocutors who have assisted us, many at considerable personal risk. Lastly, we pay tribute to all victims and survivors as they await justice, which we are certain will come.

Madame Vice President,

We have completed the mandate you gave us, but the Human Rights Council cannot walk away from the people of Myanmar.

Thank you.

Mobile Film Festival on ActNow for climate action — call for entries

The Mobile Film Festival, an independent initiative based on 1 mobile, 1 minute, 1 film, has launched a special edition focused on the ActNow climate action campaign, in collaboration with UN Climate Change (UNFCCC), the UN Department of Global Communications (DGC), the UN Regional Information Centre (UNRIC), and YouTube Creators for Change.

The ActNow campaign, led by the UN Department of Global Communications, engages individuals around the world in daily actions to reduce our carbon footprint – like traveling more sustainably, saving energy, or eating less meat. More information – and the interactive ActNow chat bot –  are available here: www.un.org/actnow

To participate in the Mobile Film Festival, anyone can submit a short film on climate action, made with a mobile phone or tablet, in any language. Chosen by a jury of prestigious professionals as well as through a public vote, the winners will receive awards in the form of creation grants and scholarships to assist them as emerging filmmakers. Submissions are due by 16 October 2019, winners will be announced on 10 December.

During the last edition (on human rights), the Mobile Film Festival received more than 700 films from 81 countries and reached 21 million viewers.

We encourage you to promote the Mobile Film Festival’s call for entries (open now, through 16 October 2019) to your media and civil society networks, using the following resources:

 

Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Myanmar Oral update to the Human Rights Council

Check against delivery
Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Myanmar
Oral update to the Human Rights Council
16 September 2019

Mr President, distinguished representatives, ladies and gentlemen,
Thank you for the opportunity to provide you with an update on the situation of human rights in Myanmar. This is an important session of the Human Rights Council, with the presentation of the first report from the Independent Investigative Mechanism for Myanmar and the final report of the Independent International Fact-Finding Mission for Myanmar. The establishment of both of those bodies came about after my recommendations. I had observed that the situation in Myanmar was serious enough to warrant such international action and that there was no prospect under the existing circumstances that a domestic mechanism would be able to credibly deal with the gross violations that were taking place.
Despite the fact that Myanmar refused to engage with the Fact-Finding Mission, it has made an enormous contribution to bringing to light the magnitude of violations of international humanitarian law and human rights in Myanmar and I commend its work. The Independent Investigative Mechanism is just beginning its work and I have every expectation that it will make significant headway in the pursuance of justice for victims all over Myanmar. I strongly urge Myanmar and all other member states to cooperate with it.
Notwithstanding the existence and work of these mechanisms, Myanmar continues to be a state that commits ongoing gross violations of international law, is not cooperating with the United Nations and is consistently failing to meet its international obligations.
Key human rights advisors for the United Nations Resident Coordinator’s Office have not yet been accepted by the Government. It also declined to allow a visit of the Special Rapporteur on the freedom of opinion and expression, as well as continuing to refuse to engage with me. These are not the actions of a state that is engaging with the United Nations. I note that at this critical time, it is of great importance that the United Nations has strong leadership regarding Myanmar, particularly in light of the findings of Ambassador Rosenthal.
I have been informed of the difficulties faced by people from Myanmar living in other states, in particular the insecure situation of the Rakhine community in Singapore. I am also receiving more and more extremely worrying information about reprisals, surveillance and harassment of individuals in Myanmar and outside who are cooperating with international human rights mechanisms. I am extremely distressed by what this trend means for the safety and wellbeing of those in Myanmar and beyond who are striving for the enjoyment of rights for all people in the country. I am also terribly concerned about what it means for the conduct of mandates like mine, the work of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, which is attempting to engage with the Government in a technical cooperation program, and the Independent Mechanism when it begins to gather evidence and interact with victims and witnesses. The situation in Myanmar remains sufficiently serious to warrant international action, and I therefore must urge you to remain urgently seized on it.
Ladies and gentlemen,
In Rakhine State, the Tatmadaw has been using helicopter gunships against the Arakan Army and both sides are accused of indiscriminate use of heavy artillery fire, gunfire and landmines in civilian areas. Up to 65,000 people have been displaced by the conflict across northern Rakhine and southern Chin States since January. Humanitarian access remains heavily restricted by the State Government in conflict-affected townships, significantly depriving at least 100,000 people of assistance and basic services, while imposed curfews are preventing people from reaching livelihoods, medical treatment and safe passage.
Throughout July, August and September I have continued to receive reports of civilians being killed, having been targeted, or as a result of indiscriminate fire. Three children were killed by mortar fire in Minbya last month, and last week a landmine explosion in Buthidaung seriously injured another two children. There have been disturbing reports of ethnic Rakhine men being arrested by the military on suspicion of association with the AA and held incommunicado for weeks. There have been 15 reported deaths in custody and allegations of torture and inhuman treatment. Chillingly, I have also received reports of villages being burned; as many as six since the end of June, which was also when the Government imposed the suspension of mobile internet services.
The suspension has been in place for nearly three months now. On 2 September it was partially lifted in five townships, but remains in place in Kyauktaw, Minbya, Ponnagyun and Mrauk-U, where the worst fighting is happening. The suspension cannot be justified under international law and is a violation of multiple rights; I call on the Government to lift the suspension immediately. The parties to the conflict must end their hostilities – the people of Rakhine have suffered enough.
Friends and colleagues,
On 15 August the conflict worsened, when the Myanmar National Democratic Alliance Army, the Ta’ang National Liberation Army and the Arakan Army, known as the Three Brotherly Alliance, launched coordinated attacks in northern Shan and Mandalay, killing and injuring soldiers, police officers, and civilians. The attacks sparked intense fighting between the Tatmadaw and the ethnic armed organisations across inhabited areas and along main roads in northern Shan.
Weeks of fighting were waged with disregard for the safety, welfare and rights of civilians. Targeted and indiscriminate use of heavy artillery fire as well as landmines reportedly caused at least 17 civilian deaths. These include a farmer who was killed when Tatmadaw troops reportedly fired mortars into his village as people were fleeing military helicopters conducting air strikes nearby, and five people, including two children, who were sheltering in a house that was hit by a mortar after fighting broke out along the main road.
The fighting temporarily displaced an estimated 8,000 people in northern Shan. 1,600 of them remain displaced now. I received reports that in some areas civilians were trapped by the fighting, unable to reach safety, and that access for humanitarian actors was restricted. There were deeply concerning reports of rescue vehicles being attacked – on 17 August a humanitarian worker was killed and two of his colleagues injured when their ambulance was attacked near Lashio in violation of international humanitarian law. I condemn all targeting of civilians and humanitarian actors and demand that all parties protect civilians and respect human rights.
Last week the Three Brotherly Alliance declared a month-long unilateral ceasefire, to make way for reconciliatory peace talks. This was encouraging, with talks between the groups and the Government’s National Reconciliation and Peace Commission scheduled for tomorrow. However, despite its own declared unilateral ceasefire that was for the purpose of entering into peace negotiations having been extended until 21 September, the Tatmadaw subsequently launched an offensive against the TNLA in Namhsan, displacing 1,000 more people to whom they are blocking humanitarian aid. This bears the question of whether the Tatmadaw is serious about its stated commitment to bringing about peace.
Mr President,
I note the work that has been undertaken by the Myanmar National Human Rights Commission, including prison visits, promotion of human rights, and investigations. However, reforms are needed to establish an independent and effective National Human Rights Commission in accordance with the Paris Principles. There are currently opportunities for improvement, including that the current Commissioners’ terms are coming to an end this month, and the Commission’s draft strategic plan being subject to public consultation. Notably, the draft plan includes advocacy to amend the Commission’s enabling law.
However, recent actions taken by the Commission illustrate its ongoing lack of independence and competency. As Myanmar suffers from protracted internal armed conflict and violence, it is critical the Commission conduct itself with a heightened level of vigilance and independence, and promote respect for the human rights of all individuals in all circumstances. Though it has undertaken investigations, the findings of several of them have yet to be published, undermining transparency and reducing the contribution that it could make towards combating impunity for human rights violations.
The Commission’s enabling law should be amended to ensure it greater financial autonomy, to include stronger protections against reprisals for those that engage with it, and to require regular, wide and systematic publication of its reports and findings. Critically, the Law should contain guarantees that Commissioners will be selected to ensure a pluralistic representation of society involved in the promotion and protection of human rights in Myanmar, including for example, members of civil society, health workers, journalists and others, through a transparent and inclusive process. At present the Law does not provide these guarantees and requires military-appointed personnel be involved in selecting Commissioners. Despite these limitations, I call for the new Commissioners to be selected in line with the Paris Principles.
Distinguished representatives,
We have just passed the two year anniversary of 25 August 2017, the beginning of the violent expulsion of over 700,000 Rohingya from Myanmar, a day that the refugees in Cox’s Bazar refer to as “Genocide Day”. In August this year, the refugees were subject to a different kind of violence and trauma as states colluded to attempt to repatriate 3,450 of them to Myanmar where they would only face persecution. I am concerned by information I have received that in early September, tighter restrictions were placed on refugee civil society in the camps and limits imposed on access to mobile internet, leading to increased vulnerability of refugees.
Myanmar claims to have done what is necessary for the repatriation to be successful, and continues to blame Bangladesh for any delay. However, information I have leads me to believe that the contrary is true. Myanmar has done nothing to dismantle the system of violence and persecution and the Rohingya who remain in Rakhine live in the same dire circumstances that they did prior to the events of August 2017. They are denied citizenship and recognition, face regular violence (including in the context of the ongoing conflict between the Arakan Army and the Tatmadaw), are unable to move freely and have little access to food, healthcare, education, livelihoods and services. Myanmar states that it has undertaken significant development and rehabilitation works in the area that was affected by the violence. However, satellite imagery reveals that that development has included 34 camps, the precise purpose of which is unclear but they may be intended to detain the remaining Rohingya population and those who decide to return. There are six military bases that have been built on the site of destroyed Rohingya villages. Of the 392 villages that were destroyed, there has been no attempt to reconstruct 320 of them, with 40% of villages having been completely razed to the ground. Some of that demolition occurred in 2018 and some even in 2019, and all of this is completely antithetical to the claim that Myanmar is ready to receive the refugees. I further note that under Myanmar’s land laws, burned land reverts to Government ownership. In this situation, even if the refugees wished to return to Myanmar, what have they got to go back to? Reform of these laws is one way to show that Myanmar is serious about receiving back the Rohingya who fled.
The Myanmar Government continues to assert that it and the military have taken substantial steps towards accountability for the enormous violations perpetrated against the Rohingya, with the Independent Commission of Enquiry and the military’s “investigation court”. However, despite there having been a proliferation of inquiries in Myanmar in recent years, none of them have resulted in steps taken towards an end of impunity and I do not believe either of the current inquiries will achieve this goal. My belief is unwavering that accountability is necessary for the country as a whole, as well as being key to successful repatriation: it will bring about an end to the military’s violence against ethnic minorities in Myanmar and the possibility that the Rohingya could live safely in Rakhine.

Media Statement: UN Fact-Finding Mission on Myanmar

 

 

Media Statement: UN Fact-Finding Mission on Myanmar

Myanmar’s Rohingya Persecuted, Living under Threat of Genocide, UN Experts Say

GENEVA (16 September 2019) – The 600,000 Rohingya remaining inside Myanmar face systematic persecution and live under the threat of genocide, the Independent International Fact-Finding Mission on Myanmar says in a new report.

“The threat of genocide continues for the remaining Rohingya,” said Marzuki Darusman, Chair of the Fact-Finding Mission, recalling that a year ago the Mission said it had found “genocidal acts” in Myanmar’s 2017 “clearance operations” that killed thousands and caused more than 740,000 Rohingya to flee for their lives to Bangladesh.

“Myanmar is failing in its obligation to prevent genocide, to investigate genocide and to enact effective legislation criminalizing and punishing genocide,” Darusman said.

The report, published today, will be presented on Tuesday to the Human Rights Council, which created the Mission in 2017. It says Myanmar’s ethnic groups have a common – but not identical – experience of marginalization, discrimination and brutality at the hands of the Myanmar armed forces, the Tatmadaw.

The report includes much new information about human rights abuses resulting from the Tatmadaw’s decades-long fight against the country’s minority ethnic groups. On the Tatmadaw’s conflict with the Arakan Army, the report says: “In an attempt to prevent civilian support to the insurgency, the Tatmadaw has cut the lifelines of ethnic Rakhine communities, restricting both people’s freedom of movement and humanitarian access” so that many cannot make a living or get food.

Detailing violations of international humanitarian law in northern Myanmar, the report finds “torture and ill-treatment” of suspected insurgents, and says sexual and gender-based violence by the Myanmar military “remains a prominent feature of the conflicts in Shan and Kachin States”.

Over the last two years, the Mission interviewed nearly 1,300 victims and eyewitnesses, and thoroughly documented human rights abuses in Rakhine, Chin, Shan, Kachin and Karen States.

“Shedding light on the grave human rights violations that occurred and still are occurring in Myanmar is very important but not sufficient,” said Mission Expert Radhika Coomaraswamy. “Accountability is important not only to victims but also to uphold the rule of law. It is also important to prevent repetition of the Tatmadaw’s past conduct and prevent future violations.”

The mission now has transferred the information it collected about serious crimes under international law to the UN’s new Independent Investigative Mechanism for Myanmar. The Mechanism will build on this evidence and conduct its own investigations to support prosecutions in national, regional and international courts of perpetrators of atrocities in Myanmar.

Against a background of domestic impunity, the Mission says, “accountability can only be advanced by the international community.” The Mission says it has a confidential list of over 100 names, including Myanmar officials, suspected of being involved in genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes, in addition to six generals it named publicly a year ago.

The report says the “deplorable” living conditions of an estimated 600,000 Rohingya still inside Myanmar have worsened in the last year, and continuing persecution is a way of life in Rakhine State. These facts underscore the impossibility of return for the nearly one million Rohingya refugees, mostly in Bangladesh.

In today’s report, the Fact-Finding Mission also says Myanmar incurs state responsibility under the prohibition against genocide and crimes against humanity, as well as for other violations of international human rights law and international humanitarian law.

The finding of “state responsibility” means that Myanmar should be brought before the International Court of Justice (ICJ) for failing to honour its obligations under the 1948 Genocide Convention, one of few international human rights instruments it has ratified.

The report says the huge number of brutal human rights violations committed in Myanmar requires many avenues of justice. It called on the UN Security Council to refer Myanmar to the International Criminal Court or to establish an ad hoc tribunal, like the ones for the former Yugoslavia and Rwanda.

The three Experts called on the international community to continue to shine a spotlight on Myanmar, to demand accountability and not to lose interest in continuing abuses there.

“The scandal of international inaction has to end,” said Mission Expert Christopher Sidoti. “Over the past 60 years the military has destroyed Myanmar, politically and economically. The peoples of Myanmar have suffered severely. The military operations against the Rohingya in 2017 − as exceptionally intense and brutal as they were − are part of a bigger, longer, more general pattern of extreme military violence. Unless the United Nations and the international community take effective action this time, this sad history is destined to be repeated.”

ENDS

The Experts will hold a news conference on 17 Sept. at 12:00 in the Palais des Nations, Room III.

Background

The Human Rights Council set up the Independent International Fact-Finding Mission on Myanmar (IIFFMM) in March 2017 to establish the facts and circumstances of the alleged human rights violations by military and security forces, and abuses, in Myanmar. This included arbitrary detention, torture and inhuman treatment, rape and other forms of sexual violence, extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary killings, enforced disappearances, forced displacement and unlawful destruction of property. In its efforts to ensure full accountability for perpetrators and justice for victims, it looked in depth at the situation in Rakhine State, and interviewed 827 Rohingya in other countries.

The Experts

Marzuki Darusman, lawyer and human rights campaigner and former Attorney-General of Indonesia, is chair of the fact-finding mission. The other two members are Radhika Coomaraswamy, a lawyer and former UN Special Rapporteur on Violence against Women and UN Special Representative for Children and Armed Conflict; and Christopher Sidoti, an international human rights lawyer and former Australian Human Rights Commissioner.

Website of the Independent International Fact-Finding Mission on Myanmar: https://www.ohchr.org/EN/HRBodies/HRC/MyanmarFFM/Pages/Index.aspx

For more information and media requests, please contact: Todd Pitman in Bangkok (+66 63 216 9080 / todd.pitman@un.org) or Kitty McKinsey in Geneva (+41 41 22 91 78315/ kmckinsey@ohchr.org)

UN Fact-Finding Mission on Myanmar Hands Over to Independent Investigative Mechanism for Myanmar

9 September 2019

Media Advisory

GENEVA (9 September 2019) – The Independent International  Fact-Finding Mission on Myanmar, set up by the Human Rights Council in 2017 (resolution 34/22), has handed over its evidence of serious crimes under international law to a new mechanism that is mandated by the Human Rights Council to follow up and prepare files for criminal prosecutions.

The Mission’s short report to the Human Rights Council, released on Monday, explains the preparations it made to consolidate and hand over to the Independent Investigative Mechanism for Myanmar (IIMM) the extensive information it collected over the last two years. The Mission’s evidence has been preserved and transferred to the IIMM in a manner that ensures its integrity so it can be used in criminal trials in courts outside Myanmar.

This is an important step in achieving justice for victims and accountability for serious crimes. A more detailed report containing the Mission’s findings on the latest activities of Government security forces and conflict-related human rights developments in Myanmar will be released on 17 September when the Mission appears before the Human Rights Council.

The Mission’s three members – Chairman Marzuki Darusman and Experts Radhika Coomaraswamy and Christopher Sidoti – will hold a news conference in Geneva on 17 September.

ENDS

https://www.ohchr.org/EN/HRBodies/HRC/Pages/NewsDetail.aspx?NewsID=24960&LangID=E

Statement to the Human Rights Council by Mr. Nicholas Koumjian, Head of the Independent Investigative Mechanism for Myanmar

42nd Regular Session of the Human Rights Council

9 September 2019

Mr. President, Excellencies, It is an honor to present to the Council the initial report of the Independent Investigative Mechanism for Myanmar.

Last September, the Independent International Fact-Finding Mission on Myanmar reported that it had found reasonable grounds to believe that very serious international crimes had been committed and called for the end to a cycle of impunity.  The same month, in Resolution 39/2, the Council responded by establishing this Mechanism with the mandate “to collect, consolidate, preserve and analyse evidence of the most serious international crimes and violations of international law committed in Myanmar since 2011” and to build criminal case files for potential use in national, regional or international courts.  The General Assembly welcomed the establishment of the Mechanism in resolution 73/264.

I am grateful to the High Commissioner for Human Rights, Ms. Michelle Bachelet, and the United Nations Legal Counsel, Mr. Miguel de Serpa Soares, and their Offices, for implementing the necessary preliminary steps to establish the Mechanism.  Following their efforts, the Secretary-General formally deemed the Mechanism operational on 30 August this year and on 6 September we began the process of transferring information collected by the Fact-Finding Mission to the Mechanism.

Mr. President, Excellencies, Allow me to explain a bit how I intend to approach the task ahead.  First, I will always respect the specific mandate conferred by this Council.  The Mechanism will strive to obtain and analyze information that sheds light on whether there is proof, to the high standards required in criminal cases, that individuals are responsible for serious international crimes.  Our mandate is distinct from that of the Fact-Finding Mission and other UN entities working on Myanmar.  The Mechanism’s role is not to advocate policies.  Rather it is to facilitate fair and independent criminal proceedings.

While the mandate is limited in purpose, it is massive in scale, covering the entire territory of Myanmar since 2011.  We will vigorously pursue accountability for crimes irrespective of the race, ethnicity, nationality, religion or political affiliation of either the victims or the perpetrators.  While we do not have the capacity to investigate every alleged crime, we will seek to select cases that are appropriately representative of the suffering inflicted upon the various peoples of Myanmar.

I will also seek to balance the Mechanism’s obligation to report to this Council and to keep civil society and victims informed, with the need to maintain the integrity and confidentiality of the work.  Public outreach is essential, but in criminal cases, speaking too openly about strategies and progress could compromise investigations.

Finally, I wish to stress that the success of the Mechanism will be dependent on the cooperation and support of Member States. Obviously, access to Myanmar would greatly facilitate the search for the truth about alleged crimes.  I have made multiple attempts to engage with the Government of Myanmar and moving forward, I will continue to reach out and seek a cooperative relationship.

The cooperation of other states in the region is also critical. Many witnesses with relevant information are located in or pass through their territory.  It is important that while respecting these governments’ sovereignty and relevant concerns, the Mechanism has the ability to work within these States in a manner that does not endanger witnesses or sources.

I plan to travel to the region in the coming months to engage with the relevant Member States on modes of cooperation and to take the opportunity to meet with victim and civil society groups to explain the Mechanism’s mandate and listen to their suggestions.

Mr. President, Excellencies, for the past 19 years I’ve prosecuted war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide cases from Bosnia, Sierra Leone, East Timor and   Cambodia.  I’ve seen that achieving justice for mass crimes is a long and difficult journey.  At the Khmer Rouge Tribunal in Cambodia, just last year we obtained convictions for crimes committed in the 1970’s, over four decades after the crimes were committed.

In that and other cases, I have seen that no matter how much time passes, the victims’ desire for justice does not waver.  Survivors consistently express similar desires.  First, they want a chance to recount their experiences, and seek some official recognition of the truth of what happened to them.  Second, they want to see the perpetrators’ behaviour condemned and those most responsible held to account.  This Council took an important step towards fulfilling the hopes of victims by creating this Mechanism.

Yet, I believe there is an even more important benefit. The temporal mandate of the Mechanism has no end date and extends to any crimes committed tomorrow, next year, and on into the future.    I believe that every single member of this Council wants to see the end of violence against innocent civilians and a peaceful Myanmar where all parts of the population contribute to the country’s development.  The establishment of this Mechanism makes a small but important contribution towards that end.  It deters crimes by sending this message to all armed entities in Myanmar: “We are watching and will work to ensure that those who commit crimes will be brought to account.”

I am grateful to the Council for the responsibility of this historic mandate, and to the Secretary-General for entrusting me to lead it forward.

Thank you.

ရွမ္းျပည္နယ္ေျမာက္ပိုင္းတြင္ လတ္တေလာအျပင္းအထန္ ျဖစ္ပြားေနေသာတိုက္ပြဲမ်ားႏွင့္စပ္လ်ဥ္းၿပီး ျမန္မာႏိုင္ငံဆိုင္ရာ ယာယီ ကုလသမဂၢဌာေနကိုယ္စားလွယ္ႏွင့္ လူသားခ်င္းစာနာေရးရာညႇိႏိႈင္းေရးမွဴး ဂၽြန္ကႏူဂီ၏ ထုတ္ျပန္ေၾကညာခ်က္

ရန္ကုန္ျမိဳ႔၊ ၂၀၁၉ ခုႏွစ္စက္တင္ဘာလ ၄ရက္။   ၾသဂုတ္လလယ္မွစ၍ ရွမ္းျပည္နယ္ေျမာက္ပိုင္း၌ အရွိန္အဟုန္ျမင့္လာေသာ တိုက္ပြဲမ်ားေၾကာင့္ အရပ္သားျပည္သူ ၁၇ ဦး ေသဆံုးခဲ့ရၿပီး ၂၇ ဦးထက္မနည္း ထိခိုက္ ဒဏ္ရာရခဲ့ကာ ယင္းတို႕အနက္ အမ်ားစုမွာ ကေလးမ်ားႏွင့္ အမ်ိဳးသမီးမ်ား ျဖစ္ ေၾကာင္း သိရွိရသည္႕အတြက္ ကၽြႏု္ပ္အလြန္စိုးရိမ္ ပူပန္ ေနမိပါသည္။ တိုက္ပြဲမ်ားျဖစ္ပြားေနေသာ နယ္ေျမအတြင္း လမ္းခရီးလံုျခံဳမႈမရွိဘဲ လမ္းတံတားအေျခခံအေဆာက္အဦမ်ားမွာလည္း ပ်က္စီးခဲ့ပါသည္။ ေနထိုင္ရာ အနီးဝန္းက်င္တြင္ တိုက္ပြဲမ်ားျပင္းထန္ေနျခင္းေၾကာင့္ ေဒသခံလူအမ်ားသည္ ၄င္းတို႔ေနထိုင္ရာေက်းရြာမ်ားမွ အျခားေနရာမ်ားသို႔မသြားရဲပဲ မိမိတို႕ေက်းရြာမ်ားတြင္ပင္ ပိတ္မိေနၾကပါသည္။

ၾသဂုတ္ ၃၁ ရက္ေန႔က ကြတ္ခို္င္ၿမိဳ႔နယ္ရွိ ေက်းရြာတစ္ရြာတြင္ လက္နက္ႀကီးက်ည္ က်ေရာက္ေပါက္ကြဲခဲ့ျခင္းေၾကာင့္ လူငါးဦး ေသဆံုးခဲ့ရၿပီး ယင္းတို႔အနက္ သံုးဦးမွာ ကေလးမ်ားျဖစ္ၾကပါသည္။ လက္နက္ကိုင္ ပဋိပကၡသည္ ႀကီးမားသည့္ ထိခိုက္ဆံုးရႈံးမႈမ်ားဆက္လက္ျဖစ္ပြားေနေစပါသည္။ ပဋိပကၡေၾကာင့္ မိမိတို႔၏ ခ်စ္ခင္ရသူ မိသားစု၀င္မ်ားဆံုးရံႈးရသည့္ မိသားစုမ်ားအား ၎တို႔ႏွင့္ထပ္တူဝမ္းနည္းေၾကာင္း ကၽြႏု္ပ္ေျပာၾကားလိုပါသည္။

အရပ္သားျပည္သူမ်ား ဆက္လက္ထိခိုက္ခံစားရျခင္းမွ ကင္းေဝးေစရန္ ပဋိပကၡတြင္ ပါဝင္ေနေသာ အဖြဲ႔မ်ားအေနျဖင့္ ျပည္သူ တို႔၏ လံုျခံဳေဘးကင္းေရးကို အစြမ္းကုန္အေလးထားကာ ကာကြယ္ေပးၾကပါရန္ ကၽြႏု္ပ္ တိိုက္တြန္းလိုပါသည္။ ပဋိပကၡတြင္ ပါဝင္ေနေသာ အဖြဲ႔မ်ားသည္ အရပ္သား ျပည္သူမ်ားကို ကာကြယ္ၾကရမည္႔အျပင္ လူသားခ်င္းစာနာမႈအဖြဲ႔မ်ား အား အကူအညီလိုအပ္ေနသူမ်ားထံသို႕ စားနပ္ရိကၡာ၊ ေရႏွင့္ အျခားအေရးႀကီး အေထာက္အပံ့မ်ား သြားေရာက္ပံ့ပိုး ႏိုင္ခြင့္ျပဳရန္လည္း လိုအပ္ပါသည္။

အပစ္အခတ္ရပ္စဲေရးကာလအတြင္း အပစ္အခတ္ရပ္စဲေရးသေဘာတူညီခ်က္ကို အႀကိမ္ႀကိမ္ခ်ိဳးေဖာက္ကာ တိုက္ပြဲမ်ား ဆက္လက္ျဖစ္ပြားလ်က္ရွိပါသည္။ အပစ္အခတ္ရပ္စဲေရး ကို ျမန္မာ့တပ္မေတာ္က စက္တင္ဘာလ ၂၁ ရက္ေန႔အထိ ထပ္မံသက္တမ္းတိုးခဲ့ျခင္းအား ကုလသမဂၢအေနျဖင့္ ႀကိဳဆိုသည္႕အျပင္ ဤအပစ္အခတ္ရပ္စဲျခင္းမွသည္ တိုက္ပြဲမ်ား ရပ္တန္႔သြားသည္အထိ အက်ဳိးျဖစ္ထြန္းေစရန္ေမွ်ာ္လင့္ပါသည္။ ပဋိပကၡတြင္ပါဝင္ေနသည့္ အဖြဲ႔မ်ားအားလံုးအား ၿငိမ္းခ်မ္း ေရးလုပ္ငန္းစဥ္အတြက္ ပိုမိုအားထုတ္လုပ္ေဆာင္ၾကပါရန္ ကုလသမဂၢက တိုက္တြန္းရင္း ပဋိပကၡအတြက္ ၿငိမ္းခ်မ္းစြာ အေျဖရွာရာတြင္ အျပည့္အဝပံံ့ပိုး လုပ္ေဆာင္ေပးမည္ျဖစ္ေၾကာင္းလည္း အသိေပးအပ္ပါသည္။

 

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ေဒသခံျပန္ၾကားေရးအရာရွိ၊

ကုလသမဂၢျပန္ၾကားေရးဌာန၊

ကုလသမဂၢဌာေနကိုယ္စားလွယ္ႏွင့္ လူသားခ်င္းစာနာေရးရာညႇိႏိႈင္းေရးမွဴး ရံုး

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