Burma: EU and UN condemn human rights violations, particularly in Rakhine State ; UN votes urgent fact-finding mission.

During its 34th session on March 22, 2017, the UN Human Rights Council decided to dispatch urgently an independent international fact-finding mission to “establish the facts and circumstances of the alleged recent human rights violations by military and security forces, and abuses, in Myanmar, in particular in Rakhine State, including but not limited to arbitrary detention, torture and inhuman treatment, rape and other forms of sexual violence, extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary killings, enforced disappearance, forced displacement and unlawful destruction of property, with a view to ensuring full accountability for perpetrators and justice for victims.” The UN also extended the mandate of the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights for a further period of one year.

FIDH with its member organisation Altsean Burma and Rohynga human rights defender Wai Wai Nu, founder of the Women’s Peace Network - Arakan, met with key EU actors in March, bringing first-hand testimony of the violence in the Rakhine State. Moreover, FIDH with member organisations Altsean-Burma and Odhikar, and 10 other leading organisations had addressed a letter to the UN Human Rights Council members to support such a resolution establishing a Commission of Inquiry or similar international mechanism tasked with determining facts, identifying alleged perpetrators, and making recommendations for appropriate remedies for the victims of serious human rights violations in Rakhine State. The EU was quite active in the adoption of the UN resolution. The European Parliament also urgesthe military and security forces to put an immediate stop to the killings, harassment and rapes committed against the Rohingya people, and the burning of their homes; insists that the Government of Myanmar/Burma and the civil authorities of Myanmar/Burma immediately end the discrimination and segregation of the Rohingya minority; calls for the rights of the Rohingya people to be safeguarded and for the safety, security and equality of all citizens of Myanmar/Burma to be guaranteed; underlines the need to prosecute those responsible appropriately, and to provide adequate redress for victims of violations; calls on the Government of Myanmar/Burma to continue the process of democratisation and to respect the rule of law, freedom of speech and fundamental human rights; calls for the EU and its Member States to support a renewed mandate of the Special Rapporteur on Myanmar/Burma.

The UN resolution further echoes FIDH’s concerns and advocacy on Business and Human Rights, calling on both transnational corporations and domestic enterprises to “respect human rights in accordance with the Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, call(ing) upon the Government of Myanmar to meet its duty to protect human rights, and call(ing) upon home States of business companies operating in Myanmar to set out clearly the expectation that all business enterprises domiciled in their territory and/or jurisdiction are to respect human rights throughout their operations.

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