Joint Press Release: The European Union and Myanmar hold first bilateral Human Rights Dialogue (21/05/2014)

On 20 May, the first structural bilateral Human Rights Dialogue between the EU and Myanmar took place in Nay Pyi Taw, Myanmar.

The new Human Rights Dialogue reaffirms the commitment of the two sides to further strengthen their relationship in the field of human rights. This dialogue is a follow-up to the EU-Myanmar Task Force held in November 2013. The establishment of an EU-Myanmar Human Rights Dialogue is a further demonstration of the EU's strong commitment to accompany the democratic transition and reforms in Myanmar and further deepen bilateral ties.
On this occasion, the EU and Myanmar discussed a wide range of multilateral issues to help deepen mutual understanding, and to enhance cooperation, by reinforcing common positions in favour of strengthening international human rights standards.

The EU and Myanmar also discussed issues of common interest at bilateral level, in order to promote the exchange of best practices in ratifying international conventions and treaties, to identify challenges and to strengthen their links in cooperation in areas of mutual interest.

During the Dialogue, the EU and Myanmar took stock of the current situation of human rights on both sides. They covered major issues of concern for human rights, in particular political prisoners, freedom of expression, hate speech, economic, social and cultural rights, land rights, business and human rights, labour rights and non-discrimination. The situation in Rakhine State was also discussed.

The EU-Myanmar Human Rights Dialogue was co-chaired by EU Special Representative for Human Rights Stavros Lambrinidis and Myanmar Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs U Thant Kyaw.

EU Ambassador to Myanmar, Roland Kobia, and Acting Director-General U Htin Lynn from the International Organisations and Economic Affairs Department of the Ministry for Foreign Affairs also attended and contributed to the Dialogue.

The Dialogue was preceded by a Civil Society Forum on 19 May in Yangon, where the EU's and Myanmar's achievements and remaining challenges in the area of human rights were discussed with civil society and human rights defenders.