"The human rights situation in Myanmar remains of grave concern to the EU and it is important that the Council continues to speak on this matter with a strong voice," said Ambassador Walter Stevens, Head of the EU Delegation to the UN in Geneva at the side event. The EU has consistently called for accountability for those responsible for serious human rights violations and abuses in Myanmar and will continue its 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.
Ambassador Stevens therefore thanked in his opening remarks the experts and staff of the IIFFMM for their excellent work in the previous years and for the valuable results the report has produced. He emphasised that upon the mission recommendations, the EU stands ready to work towards the realisation of the experts’ recommendations and likewise support Myanmar in doing so. He added “that the very reason for the establishment of an 'independent' and 'international' mission has been the lack of a credible investigation and accountability process in Myanmar. Therefore, it is up to the international community – as it is provided with evidence of the most egregious crimes – to ensure the necessary accountability.”
Present in the panel were Marzuki Darusman, Chairman of the IIFFMM, Radhika Coomaraswamy and Christopher Sidoti, IIFFMM Experts, as well as the Special Rapporteur on Myanmar Yanghee Lee, who had presented the final report on the previous day to the UN Human Rights Council. The detailed mission report of the IFFMM concludes that “the 600,000 Rohingya remaining inside Myanmar face systematic persecution and live under the threat of genocide.” Marzuki Darusman, Chair of the Fact-Finding Mission, recalled that a year ago the Fact Finding Mission said it had found “genocidal acts” in Myanmar’s 2017 “clearance operations” that killed thousands and caused more than 740,000 Rohingya to flee for their lives to Bangladesh.
“Myanmar is failing in its obligation to prevent genocide, to investigate genocide and to enact effective legislation criminalizing and punishing genocide,” Mr Darusman said.
Over the last two years, the Mission interviewed nearly 1,300 victims and eyewitnesses, and thoroughly documented human rights abuses in Rakhine, Chin, Shan, Kachin and Karen States.
Moderated by Minister of Justice of the Gambia, Mr. Abubaccar M. Tambadou, the experts presented very personal testimonies and experiences from talking to the interviewees. All of them stressed the need for justice for victims, and the importance of bringing perpetrators to justice. The experts thanked in particular the European Union for having worked very closely together with the Organization of the Islamic Countries (OIC) on the joint EU-OIC led resolution resulting in the establishment of the Investigative Mechanism for Myanmar.
"We very much welcome that the Independent Investigative Mechanism for Myanmar, that was established last year as a response also to the Fact Finding Mission’s landmark report, is now operational and that evidence from the Fact-Finding Mission has been transferred to the Mechanism, so that the FFM can conclude its work and legacy," said EU Ambassador Stevens. "We continue to believe that accountability is absolutely necessary; for the victims and, ultimately, for efforts towards national reconciliation in Myanmar. This is crucial with regard to Myanmar: our overarching goal is – and should remain - to support the democratic transition in the country, and the shift from military to fully democratic governance, including in the economy."
Report of the Independent International Fact-Finding Mission on Myanmar (A/HRC/42/50)
Detailed findings of the Independent International Fact-Finding Mission on Myanmar in English
EU-Myanmar relations, factsheet
EU Delegation to Myanmar