Oral statement to UN Human Rights Council – MRG increasingly alarmed at events unfolding in Rakhine state and denial of high-level officials
Oral Statement – Minority Rights Group International
UN Human Rights Council, 36th session
Interactive Dialogue on Fact-finding Mission on the situation of human rights in Myanmar (item 4)
18 September 2017
Speaker: Mr. Glenn Payot
Thank you Mister President,
Minority Rights Group is increasingly alarmed at the events unfolding in Rakhine state and the denial of these events by high-level officials, despite overwhelming evidence suggesting massive human rights abuses are being committed by Myanmar’s security forces against the Rohingya population. The recent events follow a similar pattern to those that happened in 2012, and again, in 2016.
The current exodus to Bangladesh has exceeded 400,000 out of an estimated population of 1.1 million. Given that this is a recurring tactic by the security forces, it suggests that the state is actually attempting to forcibly expel the entire Rohingya population from Myanmar. This expulsion alone may likely constitute ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity.
This simple truth should be recalled: the Rohingya of Myanmar have the right to exist. They have the right to reside on the territory that has been occupied by their ancestors for generations. They have the right to identify as Rohingya Muslims, to practice their faith, and to have that identity respected by the state. They have the right to be acknowledged as fully-fledged citizens of Myanmar, the country in which they were born, the place where generations of their ancestors were born.
The denial of these fundamental human rights is leading to increasing dehumanization of the Rohingya, and as a result, is further encouraging attacks and hate by armed civilians, with the complicity of police and security officials.
Mister President, MRG therefore calls on the Council to adopt a resolution prolonging the mandate of the fact-finding mission. The Council should also urge the government of Myanmar to take the following steps, in order to put an end to a situation that will be seen so shamefully by future generations:
- Allow the fact-finding mission and international observers into Rakhine state;
- Lift aid restrictions;
- Put an end to military persecution, hate speech and hate crimes against Rohingya and other civilians in Rakhine state; and
- Repeal discriminatory laws marginalizing and stigmatizing Rohingya. In particular, the 1982 citizenship law that has the effect of denying Rohingya rights to full citizenship and civic participation should be overhauled, and the rights of Rohingya to vote, run for political office and participate in the political life of the country should be reinstated.