Oral statement on the human rights situation of the minority Rohingya Muslim population and other minorities in the Rakhine State of Myanmar

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Mister President,

FIDH welcomes the convening of a special session on the ongoing Rohingya crisis in Myanmar’s Rakhine State.

We condemn the Myanmar government’s ongoing rhetoric and actions, the sole purpose of which is to deny the Rohingya’s self-identity and existence. This denial is a key element of the government’s policy of ethnic cleansing of the Rohingya population.

Over the past 14 months, deliberate attacks by Myanmar security forces - which followed decades of systematic repression - have forcibly displaced nearly 700,000 Rohingya to Bangladesh. This means that the majority of the Rohingya population has now been driven out of Myanmar.

We are very concerned by the bilateral agreement signed by the governments of Myanmar and Bangladesh on 23 November 2017 on the return of Rohingya refugees to Myanmar. This agreement seeks to hasten the return of Rohingya refugees to an unsafe environment in which the commission of further atrocities remains highly likely.

Before any safe, voluntary, and dignified return of refugees can take place, all abuses against Rohingya men, women, and children in Rakhine State must cease and all perpetrators of atrocities committed since October 2016 must be held accountable. In addition, all the existing restrictions on Rohingya must be lifted and their fundamental rights, including those stemming from international treaties to which Myanmar is a state party - such as the ICESCR, CEDAW, and CRC - must be guaranteed.

Lastly, the Myanmar government must immediately end its campaign of incitement of hatred and discrimination against Rohingya, especially through state media and social media. We reiterate our call on the Myanmar government to grant unfettered access to northern Rakhine State to humanitarian organizations and to the UN-mandated Fact-Finding Mission.

Thank you.

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