Delegation of the European Union
to the United Nations - New York

EU Intervention: United Nations 3rd Committee: Interactive Dialogue on Human Rights in Myanmar

New York, 25/10/2017 - 00:00, UNIQUE ID: 171205_4
Statements on behalf of the EU

European Union Intervention at the 72nd Session of the United Nations General Assembly Third Committee Interactive Dialogue with the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Myanmar, Ms. Yanghee Lee.

Madam Special Rapporteur,

May we first extend our thanks and appreciation for your steadfast work as Special Rapporteur. The analysis and recommendations that you set out in your latest report to the General Assembly provide clear perspectives on how the situation of human rights in Myanmar can be ameliorated. We also take good note that the report covers a period up to 25 August and hence does not encompass the major intensification of the crisis in Rakhine and the fleeing of hundreds of thousands of Rohingyas into Bangladesh.

The EU has joined others in the international community in responding to that crisis through political and humanitarian channels and we have made clear our position through recent statements – including in the UN Security Council – and through the Foreign Affairs Council Conclusions adopted by EU Ministers on 16th October.

Madam Special Rapporteur,

You make clear through your report that it is important to encourage a sustained process of law reform in Myanmar, including to ensure that the legal system is in line with international human rights standards and that there are robust provisions to tackle violence against women and realise the rights of children. The EU also believes that legal reform is instrumental to protecting and promoting human rights. EU programmes are helping to support the Government of Myanmar’s endeavours in this direction, including in the fields of rural development, governance, rule of law, state capacity building, education and peacebuilding support.

To turn to our questions:

  • On the one hand, Myanmar has made real progress with respect to press freedom, as reflected in the World Press Freedom Index, and on the other hand, you express concern in your report at hate speech inciting hatred and violence against non-Buddhists. What further steps can be taken to advance both freedom of expression and address hate speech?
  • With the terrible human impact of the present crisis in Rakhine in mind, what more needs to be done to ensure the protection of the human rights of all people in Rakhine state, including in due course those who return from Bangladesh?
  • Also, in your report you mention incidents which demonstrate clear violations of the right to freedom of religion or belief and propose to take proactive measures to address such incidents- could you please elaborate?
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