Delegation of the European Union to the
UN and other international organisations in Geneva

HRC 40 - EU Intervention: Clustered Interactive Dialogue with the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Myanmar

Geneva, 11/03/2019 - 11:46, UNIQUE ID: 190311_14
Statements on behalf of the EU

40th session of the United Nations Human Rights Council Geneva, 25 February – 22 March 2019 EU Intervention: Clustered Interactive Dialogue with the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Myanmar

Mr. President 

The European Union would like to thank Ms. Yanghee Lee, UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Myanmar for her continued dedication to carry out her mandate and for her report. We regret that the government of Myanmar discontinued its cooperation. We urge the Government to resume its cooperation and grant access to the Special Rapporteur, and most importantly to address the situation on the ground. 

The EU continues to be deeply concerned over the findings of, amongst others, the Special Rapporteur and the Independent International Fact-Finding Mission (FFM) that gross human rights violations were committed in Myanmar, in particular in Kachin, Rakhine and Shan States, by the Myanmar military (Tatmadaw), many of which amount to the gravest crimes under international law. The European Union has consistently called for the accountability of those responsible for such crimes and acted promptly at the international level by presenting in September a resolution, together with the OIC, to establish an "independent mechanism" to further investigate and prepare for fair and independent criminal proceedings in accordance with international law standards in order to address the important issue of accountability. We now follow closely the process to make the mechanism operational and remain convinced that this mechanism should work in full recognition of the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court.

The EU has also taken measures for a strengthened arms embargo and a framework of targeted restrictive measures against perpetrators of serious and systematic human rights violations committed by the military and the border guard police, which has been in place since 26 April 2018. We are committed to keeping the list of designations under constant review and to explore possibilities for expanding the scope of restrictive measures to also include entities.

We are deeply concerned about recent reports of increasing restrictions on humanitarian access in Rakhine State and reiterate our call upon the Government of Myanmar to ensure the full respect of international humanitarian law and allow the full, safe and unhindered access of humanitarian personnel.

Recently, several steps have been undertaken in Myanmar that we welcome, in particular:

1. The establishment of a Joint Committee to Implement Steps to Amend the Constitution on 19 February 2019. In this regard, we urge the Government of Myanmar, including its military and security forces, to take further steps to reform the Constitution and other legislation and to strengthen democratic institutions, good governance and the rule of law to ensure respect for and to promote universal human rights and fundamental freedoms in accordance with international norms and standards.

2. The issuance of a joint Communique between the Government of Myanmar and the United Nations to address conflict-related sexual violence in Myanmar and we urge its effective implementation

3. We also welcome Myanmar's cooperation with the UNSG Special Envoy Mrs. Schraner Burgener and the opening of her office in Nay Pyi Taw. We see this as a positive step contributing to improving cooperation with the United Nations.

Madame Special Rapporteur,

How can we best provide for support for victims who interact with the Independent mechanism and other UN mandates and ensure their protection, as recommended in your report? Which other measures do you recommend to support victims more broadly?

Thank you Mr. President.

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