The Sixth European Union-Myanmar Human Rights Dialogue was held on 14 October 2020.
The meeting, held by video-conference due to the COVID-19 related disruption, allowed the EU and Myanmar to discuss human rights issues. This discussion was also in the context of the ongoing enhanced engagement under the EU’s Everything But Arms (EBA) trade arrangement, which provided Myanmar preferential imports worth over €2.7 billion in 2019. Myanmar and the EU discussed a wide range of human rights matters, including the situation in Rakhine, Kachin and Shan States, humanitarian access and the situation of Internally Displaced Persons, accountability for alleged human rights violations, fundamental rights and freedoms, economic, labour and social rights, rights of women and human rights cooperation in multilateral fora. They also shared their respective experiences in preventing and combating the COVID-19 pandemic.
The EU reaffirmed its strong support for Myanmar’s democratic transition, notably in the context of Myanmar’s upcoming general election, as well as for its peace and reconciliation process and inclusive socio-economic development.
Myanmar and the EU agreed that sustainable peace could only be achieved by strengthening the rule of law and good governance, on the basis of shared values and applicable international human rights standards. The EU encouraged Myanmar to continue to implement the recommendations of the Advisory Commission on Rakhine State, and took note Myanmar’s efforts in the implementation of its National Strategy for the Closure of internally displaced person (IDP) camps.
With regard to multilateral human rights issues, the EU encouraged Myanmar to sign or ratify the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and welcomed the ratification of the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the involvement of children in armed conflict and of the International Labour Convention 138 on the minimum working age. The EU and Myanmar agreed to envisage further implementation on these conventions and other human and labour rights-related international obligations.
The EU also underlined the importance of continued efforts on the part of Myanmar to cooperate with relevant UN mandates and procedures, while inviting to follow the requests of the ILO supervisory mechanism.
It was agreed to continue discussions, including under the EBA enhanced engagement. The 7th Myanmar-EU Human Rights Dialogue will take place in 2021.
The Human Rights Dialogue was co-chaired by Mr Eamon Gilmore, EU Special Representative for Human Rights and U Kyaw Tin, Union Minister for International Cooperation of the Republic of the Union of Myanmar.