On 22 November 2016, the EU and Myanmar held their third bilateral Human Rights Dialogue in Nay Pyi Taw. European Union Special Representative for Human Rights Stavros Lambrinidis, EU Ambassador Roland Kobia and a delegation of senior European diplomats had a wide exchange with the Myanmar government on current national, regional and global human rights issues, including land rights, labour rights, bilateral investment agreements, rights of national minorities in EU Member States, preventing religious intolerance and incitement to hatred, the human rights of migrants, refugees, internally displaced persons, human trafficking, cooperation in international human rights fora, and accession to core international human rights conventions.
Regarding the situation in Rakhine State, the EU expressed concern about the recent security and human rights situation in northern Rakhine State, reiterating calls for an independent, credible investigation into both the initial attacks and the subsequent actions as well as for the urgent re-opening of humanitarian access to the populations in need. Myanmar provided an update on recent violent armed attacks, while assuring that subsequent actions were carried out with maximum restraint. Myanmar also explained that humanitarian assistance was being provided and that additional access to humanitarian partners would be granted in the areas as appropriate; Myanmar further informed about the imminent establishment of a national investigation commission into the incidents. The parties discussed concrete steps to work towards a long-term political, security and socio-economic strategy for Rakhine State.
The Human Rights Dialogue meeting was part of EUSR Lambrinidis' three day visit to Yangon and Nay Pyi Taw, meeting with government and military representatives, parliamentarians, civil society and human rights defenders.
The EU conducts human rights dialogues with more than 40 non-EU countries worldwide, in different formats and with different priorities and objectives. Some dialogues are of a general nature based on treaties, agreements and conventions, whilst others are structured to focus exclusively on human rights. The objectives of such dialogues are defined on a case-by-case basis and may include discussing and cooperating on human rights issues in multinational organisations, such as the United Nations, or gathering information on and registering concern for human rights issues.
The first two Human Rights Dialogue meetings between the European Union and Myanmar took place in 2015 and 2014. The EU is committed to continue this yearly formal dialogue in addition to its regular human rights dialogue and activities in Myanmar.