HRC38 – Myanmar: MRG calls for the establishment of an accountability mechanism on crimes committed against the Rohingya population
UN Human Rights Council
Interactive Dialogue on the situation of the Rohingya in Myanmar (item 2)
In Kachin and northern Shan state, the conflict has intensified throughout the year, with the government of Myanmar showing little concern for the safety or rights of Kachin civilians caught in the cross fire in their continuing conflict with the Kachin Independence Army. Local human rights monitoring groups have found evidence of the government blocking access to refuge for fleeing civilians, using civilians as human shields and minesweepers, and conducting indiscriminate shelling and looting. There are over 120,000 displaced persons in Kachin state, being held in IDP camps with little access to humanitarian aid. The Myanmar army has threatened organisations that are providing such aid and continues to launch criminal defamation lawsuits against Kachin human rights defenders who have opposed the atrocities, which have resulted in criminal convictions and prison time.
The government continues to avoid accountability for past and continuing suspected crimes against humanity conducted by the Myanmar military against the Rohingya population. Over 1 million are currently living on the Bangladesh side of the border, 700,000 having fled the most recent mass atrocities of autumn 2017. There is overwhelming evidence of such crimes, including the use of rape and sexual violence as a weapon of war. The government continues to deflect calls for accountability, including cooperating with the most recent UN fact-finding mission.
The root causes of the conflict, stemming from the non-recognition of Rohingya as nationals of Myanmar and an entrenched discriminatory legal framework, continue to remain unaddressed. There are continuing reports of increasing discrimination towards Muslims generally, specifically regarding accessing government identification and passports. The MoU that was signed between the UNHCR, the UNDP and the Myanmar government for the repatriation of Rohingya from Bangladesh has not adequately consulted with affected Rohingya and civil society organisations. For the process to be effective, accountability and justice for past human rights violations and atrocities must take priority.
MRG supports the calls of the UN Special Rapporteur on Myanmar for an accountability mechanism, that must be independent, impartial and international, so that it may gather evidence of these crimes for appropriate remedial measures. Notwithstanding the establishment of such an accountability mechanism, the UN Security Council must also refer this case for examination under the International Criminal Court.
I thank you.