The UN Human Rights Special Rapporteur – reports to UN General Assembly
Presenting his report to the UN General Assembly as the military junta deploys tens of thousands of troops and heavy weapons to northern Myanmar, the Special Rapporteur Tom Andrews warns that Myanmar could be on the eve of an even greater human rights catastrophe.
The report warns that the current trajectory of developments in Myanmar points to protracted authoritarianism, an even greater loss of life, a humanitarian disaster and a failed State that is a threat not only to the people of Myanmar, but to the region and the world.
Presenting the report's findings, Tom Andrews calls for an arms embargo and sanctions on the oil and gas industry: "Targeting these three needs of the junta — weapons, money, and legitimacy — while increasing humanitarian support to the people of Myanmar, is urgently needed and I believe the best means for the international community to support the people in Myanmar."
On the eve of national elections in Myanmar, the new Special Rapporteur, Thomas Andrews, expresses continuing concern over the lack of fundamental rights and freedoms in the country.
Among many other recommendations, he urges the government to give the Rohingya the right to vote and access to citizenship, to end the persecution of journalists and arbitrary detention, to enforce a nationwide ceasefire, to end violations against civilians, and to guarantee access to humanitarian actors.
Myanmar continues to deny access to the Special Rapporteur. The human rights situation in Myanmar continues to deteriorate in many areas, notably in the context of the transition to democracy, armed conflict, the peace process and several business sectors and industries.
She makes a series of recommendations on business and human rights, civil and political rights, and in particular the situation in Rakhine, Kachin and Shan States.
The Special Rapporteur reports on the continued denial of access to her by the Government of Myanmar. She made a request to visit India in order to meet refugees from Myanmar, and received no response. As a result, she visited Dhaka and Cox’s Bazar, in Bangladesh, in June/July 2018.
The Special Rapporteur reiterates that the onus is on the international community to take action, and urges it to establish an accountability mechanism under the auspices of the United Nations immediately.
The Special Rapporteur, Yanghee Lee, reports on her visit to Myanmar in July 2017 and makes 85 recommendations. She hopes for better access to the places that she requests on future visits and for a more conducive environment in which to meet with non-Governmental interlocutors. She recognizes that development and security are pressing priorities for Myanmar currently. However, she also urges Myanmar to recognize human rights as an equal priority.
The Special Rapporteur reports on her visit to Myanmar in June and July 2016. Her aim was to make a comprehensive, objective and balanced assessment of the human rights situation since the formation of a new Government in March 2016. She concludes that Myanmar’s young democracy can only progress if human rights are fully integrated into its institutional, legal and policy framework.
The Special Rapporteur reports on her visit to Myanmar in August 2015, when Myanmar was dealing with the devastating impact of the floods and subsequent landslides. She concludes by emphasising that the credibility of the elections to be held in November 2015 will be judged by the environment in which they are conducted and the extent to which all sectors of Myanmar society have been allowed to freely participate in the political process.
“The important transition and far-reaching reforms in Myanmar must be commended. Yet, possible signs of backtracking should be addressed so as not to undermine the progress achieved … Thus, human rights should be fully mainstreamed into Myanmar’s institutional, legal and policy framework, and a culture of respect of human rights must be engendered among all State institutions and the public at large.”
The Special Rapporteur describes how the reforms under way in Myanmar continue to create the prospect of significant improvements in the human rights situation. He highlights, however, the dangers of glossing over shortcomings in the area of human rights or presuming that these shortcomings will inevitably be addressed through the momentum of current reforms.
The reporting period has again seen dramatic and accelerated changes in Myanmar, which can further improve the country’s human rights situation, but also the persistence of long-standing concerns that continue to pose risks to the reform process.
This is a key moment in Myanmar’s history and there are real opportunities for positive and meaningful developments to improve the human rights situation and deepen the transition to democracy. The new Government has taken a number of steps towards these ends. Yet, many serious human rights issues remain and they need to be addressed.
This focusses on human rights in relation to the (forthcoming) elections in November 2010. It finds the conditions for genuine elections are limited and questions the potential for them to bring meaningful change. It also includes the responses of the Burmese Government to the previous Special Rapporteur's report.
The trial of Aung San Suu Kyi and her sentence of a further period of house arrest, preventing her participation in the 2010 elections, is covered in this report. It concentrates on human rights protection issues and reiterates the Special Rapporteur's recommendation of 4 core human rights elements.
The new Special Rapporteur, Tomás Ojea Quintana, reports on his visit to Myanmar in August 2008 and makes recommendations on the main human rights issues: review of national legislation, progressive release of prisoners of conscience, the armed forces and the judiciary.
In this report the Special Rapporteur deplores the fact that whilst human rights concerns are similar to those in the previous report, he had not been permitted to visit the country. It criticises the lack of effective commitment to respond to the human rights situation. It concludes with 14 specific recommendations to improve the situation.
Corrections to Special Rapporteur's 2006 report
The Special Rapporteur noted that a few days earlier the Security Council had voted to include Burma in its agenda. This report refers to the culture of impunity for human rights abuses and warns of a humanitarian crisis.