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

HRC 42 - Individual Interactive with Fact-finding Mission on Myanmar

Geneva, 17/09/2019 - 16:59, UNIQUE ID: 190917_12
Statements on behalf of the EU

United Nations Human Rights Council Geneva, 9-27 September 2019 EU Intervention: Individual Interactive with Fact-finding Mission on Myanmar

Mr. President 

The European Union commends the remarkable work of the Independent International Fact-Finding Mission on Myanmar and welcomes the presentation of its final report, including its annexed reports, to the Human Rights Council. We would like to take this opportunity to once again warmly thank the members of the Fact-Finding Mission; Mr. Marzuki Darusman, Chair of the IIFFM on Myanmar, Ms. Radhika Coomaraswamy and Mr. Christopher Dominic Sidoti, as well as the full staff of the FFM, for their strong dedication and commitment to the work throughout the process. 

As a response to the extremely grave findings contained in the Fact-Finding Mission's landmark report from last year, this Council acted upon its responsibility as the UN's primary body to address human rights and established the Independent Investigative Mechanism for Myanmar through resolution 39/2. We are pleased that the Independent Investigative Mechanism has been declared operational by the UN Secretary-General as of 30 August 2019 and that all information and evidence collected by the Fact-Finding Mission has now been fully transferred to the Mechanism so that the Fact-Finding Mission has completed its important mandate. 

Mr. President, 

The Fact-Finding Mission's presentation today of its latest reports once again confirms the gravity of the situation in Myanmar. We are deeply concerned by the findings contained in the report on "Sexual and gender-based violence in Myanmar and the gendered impact of its ethnic conflicts" that widespread sexual and gender-based violence has been committed, and the conclusion of the FFM that the nature and scale of these crimes constitute "crimes against humanity, war crimes and underlying acts of genocide accompanied by inferences of genocidal intent".

The report on “The Economic interest of the Myanmar military” represents an important body of evidence, underlining the crimes committed as well as the deep-rooted structural drivers linked to Myanmar's internal conflicts, the army's continued position of power and constitutionally guaranteed immunity from domestic accountability. The European Union welcomes the report, including the decision to draw up a list of entities in its annex, and we will carefully study the findings and recommendations of the report. The European Union on 29 April 2019 decided to prolong until 30 April 2020 a sanctions regime on Myanmar, which includes an embargo and targeted restrictive measures against 14 individuals from the Tatmadaw and border guard police. The EU is committed to keeping the list of designations and the scope of restrictive measures under constant review.

In accordance with the Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, the EU urges all Myanmar business enterprises to respect human rights and to halt the practice of donations to the army and for EU companies to conduct due diligence when trading and investing in Myanmar.

Mr. President,

The EU has consistently called for accountability for those responsible for serious human rights violations and abuses in Myanmar and will continue our work to take concrete actions towards this end. The Fact-Finding Mission’s comprehensive work to collect information and evidence constitutes an important  step in this regard. We are now looking forward to closely following the work by the Independent Investigative Mechanism for Myanmar as we continue to believe that this Mechanism is absolutely necessary; for the victims and, ultimately, for efforts towards national reconciliation in Myanmar. 

The EU takes this opportunity to reiterate its strong support for the International Criminal Court. We welcome the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court’s request for authorisation to open an investigation into the alleged deportation of the Rohingya people from Myanmar to Bangladesh and her intent "to investigate alleged crimes within the Court's jurisdiction in which at least one element occurred on the territory of the People's Republic of Bangladesh – a State Party to the Rome Statute since 1 June 2010 – and within the context of two waves of violence in Rakhine State on the territory of the Republic of the Union of Myanmar, as well as any other crimes which are sufficiently linked to these events”. We encourage all relevant actors to cooperate with the ICC.

Distinguished members of the Fact-Finding Mission,

What concrete steps would you recommend for us here in the Human Rights Council to follow-up to the important work you have undertaken and to your specific recommendations, including in the report on economic interests and with regards to the annex of the listed companies? 

In your report on the "Economic interests Myanmar military" you call for "due consideration (of) any negative socio-economic impact" and calls for sanctions to be balanced with "the promotion of economic ties and engagement with non-Tatmadaw companies and business in Myanmar".   Your report, however, does not contain an impact analysis to guide such balanced decisions. Would the FFM be able to comment and further guide on this issue?

I thank you. ​



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