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Home > Main Library > UN System and Burma/Myanmar > Main UN human rights bodies working on Burma (Myanmar) > Human Rights Council > Special Procedures > Country Mandates > UN Special Rapporteur on the Situation of Human Rights in Myanmar

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UN Special Rapporteur on the Situation of Human Rights in Myanmar

Websites/Multiple Documents

Title: Special Rapporteur of the Human Rights Council on the Situation of Human Rights in Myanmar
Description/subject: Some information about the Special Rapporteur plus list of documents and press releases
Language: English
Source/publisher: United Nations
Format/size: html
Date of entry/update: 28 August 2011


Individual Documents

Title: End of mission Statement by the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Myanmar, 1 February 2018
Date of publication: 01 February 2018
Description/subject: "...After two weeks hearing accounts of suffering that has spanned a period of decades, it is difficult to sum up all my thoughts in this statement. In concluding, I would like to return to the three themes that recurred throughout my time in Bangladesh and Thailand: People from Myanmar who are in Bangladesh and Thailand must be able to return home; to where they belong. For returns to be ever realized in a way that is voluntary, safe, dignified and sustainable they must be treated as equals – citizens of Myanmar with all the rights that the status affords. The situation is clearly not safe for Rohingya to return now but if the process is delayed indefinitely and the facts on the ground in Rakhine State change irreversibly, there may be nothing for them to return to. The international community needs to pressure Myanmar to create conditions for return before it is too late. This must be done in a principled way that prioritizes the need for these people to be recognized as Rohingya and as citizens of Myanmar. Without equality, Myanmar will never be free from violence and the country’s tragic déjà vu will reverberate through the future as it has through the past. The cycle of violence must end, and Myanmar must be supported in implementing the profound and meaningful reforms that are so urgently needed. The democratic government can take the first step to a more hopeful future for Myanmar by making a break with the repressive practices of the past."
Author/creator: Yanghee Lee
Language: English
Source/publisher: Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights
Format/size: html
Date of entry/update: 03 February 2018


Title: End of Mission Statement by the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Myanmar, 21 July 2017
Date of publication: 21 July 2017
Description/subject: Yangon, 21 July 2017: "Thank you for the opportunity to address you again this evening. I would like to start by expressing my sympathies to Myanmar at the damage recently caused by the Cyclone Mora, particularly in Rakhine and Chin States and Ayeyarwaddy Division. I understand the rebuilding effort is underway and hope the needs of all affected people can be addressed soon. As you know I have just completed my 12-day visit to Myanmar. I would like to thank the Government as well as the United Nations Resident Coordinator for facilitating it. I have been to Yangon and Nay Pyi Taw as well as parts of Rakhine, Shan and Kayin States. In Rakhine, I went to Kyaukphyu, Sittwe, Buthidaung and Maungdaw. In Shan State, I was only able to visit Lashio; and in Kayin State, only Hpa-an. In Nay Pyi Taw, I met with the State Counsellor as well as other Government ministers and officials. I was not able to meet the Commander-in-Chief and representatives from the ministries for Defence, Home Affairs, Transport and Communication, and Religious Affairs and Culture. I also met with the Attorney General, as well as Governmental, Parliamentary, and statutory bodies. In the past, I have acknowledged the good cooperation extended to me by the Myanmar Government for my visits to the country. And on a few occasions mentioned some difficulties of access. This time I want to speak a bit more on the issue of access particularly in light of the Government's recent decision to deny visas to the UN Fact-Finding Mission as well as a new condition that the Government tried to impose on me for this visit..."
Author/creator: Yanghee Lee
Language: English
Source/publisher: Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights
Format/size: html
Date of entry/update: 26 July 2017


Title: End of mission statement by the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Myanmar, 1 July 2016
Date of publication: 01 July 2016
Description/subject: Conclusion: "...Let me conclude by reiterating my firm belief that Myanmar’s young democracy can only progress if human rights are fully mainstreamed into its institutional, legal and policy framework. Building a culture of respect for human rights must be a priority now and in the future. While I am aware of the need to give space and time for the new Government to address the many complex challenges facing the country, I must remain constructively and critically engaged and vocal in encouraging and advocating for greater progress on human rights. I must also continue to hold Myanmar accountable to its international human rights obligations. That is my mandate as Special Rapporteur. The international community also has a responsibility in this regard. In the rush to forge or strengthen political or economic ties, international actors must continue to prioritize human rights, particularly in business and investment relations. International actors should not undermine human rights priorities, including by remaining silent when confronted with human rights concerns or at worst, becoming complicit in perpetuating human rights abuses. The international community must remain fully engaged on human rights issues in Myanmar. It should also remain committed to providing necessary assistance and support to further the reforms in line with international human rights standards. It is vital that all actors work together to ensure human rights are respected and protected across Myanmar. At the start of my visit, I stated that my objective, as Special Rapporteur, is to continue to work closely with the Government and people of Myanmar, for the promotion and protection of human rights in the country. I reaffirm that pledge to you now"...... The Alternate URL contains the Special Raporteur's programme, with list of people and institutions met.
Author/creator: Yanghee Lee
Language: English
Source/publisher: UN Information Centres via Reliefweb
Format/size: html
Alternate URLs: http://yangon.sites.unicnetwork.org/2016/07/01/end-of-mission-statement-by-the-special-rapporteur-o...
Date of entry/update: 02 July 2016


Title: Myanmar: “Critical and independent voices are vital partners not threats” – UN rights expert
Date of publication: 11 August 2015
Description/subject: "... As Myanmar looks ahead to the upcoming elections in November – a milestone in the country’s transition to democracy – the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Myanmar, Yanghee Lee, urged the Government to reconsider its fear and opposition to critical and independent voices. “Civil society actors, journalists and ordinary citizens exercising their rights to freedom of expression, assembly and association are not threats, but should be seen as partners in contributing to a robust democracy,” Ms. Lee stressed at the end of her five-day official visit* to the country. During her visit, the human rights expert noted the continuing arrests and convictions of civil society actors including students, political activists, workers, union leaders, farmers, community organisers and journalists, and met with several of these individuals detained in Insein and Tharawaddy prisons. “Many emphasized that they were not against the Government and simply wanted to bring about positive changes in the country,” she said. Given their vital role in any democratic society, prior to, during and after elections, the expert called for the immediate release of all such political prisoners, including those detained in connection with the Letpadan incident on 10 March 2015, during a police operation against student demonstrators and their supporters..."
Author/creator: Yanghee Lee
Language: English
Source/publisher: United Nations
Format/size: html
Date of entry/update: 22 August 2015


Title: End of Mission Statement by the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Myanmar, 7 August 2015
Date of publication: 07 August 2015
Description/subject: Conclusion: "...Let me conclude by reaffirming my commitment to engage constructively and openly with the Government and all other stakeholders. While I am fully aware of the complexities of the situation in Myanmar and the reform process, I cannot hold Myanmar to a lower standard. I must continue to objectively assess the situation against the country’s own international human rights obligations. Ahead of the elections, one key recommendation I can make to the Government of Myanmar is to reconsider its fear and opposition to critical and independent voices. Civil society actors, journalists and ordinary citizens exercising their rights to freedom of expression, assembly and association are not threats; instead they are the voice of different communities and interests in Myanmar – in all its wonderful and rich diversity – and they play a vital role in contributing to and sustaining a robust democracy, and in advocating for the promotion and protection of human rights. They should be seen as partners and their actions and voices should not be restricted, but rather heard, facilitated and supported. I stand with you, the people of Myanmar, as you chart your way forward in this historic moment..."
Author/creator: Yanghee Lee
Language: English
Source/publisher: United Nations
Format/size: pdf, 236K; html
Alternate URLs: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/NewsEvents/Pages/DisplayNews.aspx?NewsID=16309&LangID=E
Date of entry/update: 22 August 2015


Title: Statement of the Special Rapporteur on the Situation of Human Rights in Myanmar
Date of publication: 16 January 2015
Description/subject: "...Based on all the information I have gathered, I feel assured that in some areas, the Government is continuing to progress in its reform programme. I am pleased to see that programmes to improve education, health care and livelihood are underway, and commend the Government on its proposals for greater community consultation on land related projects. I was heartened by the release of U Kyaw Hla Aung released since my last visit. However, in some areas I have not observed progress since my last visit. In particular, land development projects frequently suffer from poor information and a lack of adequate consultation with affected communities. Consequential disputes have been met with harsh crackdowns. I have also observed areas where reforms fail to live up to expectations due to inadequate capacity or simply disregard, at the local level of implementation. In the area of freedom of expression and freedom of assembly, positive gains risk being lost. Indeed, the possible signs of backtracking I noted in my first report have gained momentum in this area. I urge the Government to address these issues as a priority. I will elaborate this in my report to be submitted to the Human Rights Council in March..."
Author/creator: Yanghee Lee
Language: English
Source/publisher: United Nations
Format/size: pdf (105K)
Alternate URLs: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/NewsEvents/Pages/DisplayNews.aspx?NewsID=15523&LangID=E
Date of entry/update: 21 January 2015


Title: Statement of the Special Rapporteur on the Situation of Human Rights in Myanmar Yangon International Airport, Myanmar, 26 July 2014
Date of publication: 26 July 2014
Description/subject: "...Preliminary observations: Myanmar is undergoing an important transition and the sweeping and far-reaching reforms that we have seen in recent years have dramatically transformed the political, economic, social and human rights landscape. This was affirmed in my meetings with various Government officials in Nay Pyi Taw. In three years, Myanmar has come a long way since the establishment of the new Government. This must be recognized and applauded. Yet, there are worrying signs of possible backtracking which if unchecked could undermine Myanmar’s efforts to become a responsible member of the international community that respects and protects human rights. As many have said, Myanmar therefore needs further encouragement and understanding in order to address these challenges and to continue on the path of reform. And I hope that my observations and recommendations will be taken in this light..... Shrinking of democratic space...Prisoners of conscience...Development and economic, social and cultural rights......Legislative reform and the rule of law...Women’s rights and gender equality...Rakhine State...Kachin State...Mandalay...Conclusion
Author/creator: Yanghee Lee
Language: English
Source/publisher: UN Information Center, Yangon
Format/size: html
Date of entry/update: 27 July 2014


Title: Myanmar: UN expert greets latest commitments on human rights and calls for swift implementation
Date of publication: 20 November 2012
Description/subject: GENEVA (20 November 2012) – "The United Nations Special Rapporteur on the human rights situation in Myanmar, Tomás Ojea Quintana, welcomed today the latest commitments from the Government of Myanmar on human rights as significant steps forward in the ongoing reform process, and encouraged the authorities to focus now on their prompt implementation. These pledges announced by the Government on 18 November include the resumption of prison visits for the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), the setting up of a mechanism to review prisoner lists, addressing the situation in Rakhine State, and an invitation to the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights to establish a country office..."
Author/creator: Tomás Ojea Quintana
Language: English
Source/publisher: United Nations
Format/size: pdf (64K), html
Alternate URLs: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/NewsEvents/Pages/DisplayNews.aspx
Date of entry/update: 20 November 2012


Title: Statement by Tomás Ojea Quintana SPECIAL RAPPORTEUR ON THE SITUATION OF HUMAN RIGHTS IN MYANMAR
Date of publication: 25 October 2012
Description/subject: "...We should all acknowledge and commend the Government of Myanmar for what has been achieved thus far, which I have previously stated has improved the country’s human rights situation. Yet, recent developments highlight that Myanmar continues to grapple with ongoing human rights concerns that could pose risks to the reform process..."
Author/creator: Tomás Ojea Quintana
Language: English
Source/publisher: United Nations General Assembly (67th session)
Format/size: pdf (100K)
Date of entry/update: 01 November 2012


Title: UN Expert: Human rights should lie at the heart of Myanmar’s reform process
Date of publication: 25 October 2012
Description/subject: "The United Nations Special Rapporteur on the human rights situation in Myanmar, Tomás Ojea Quintana, today highlighted the importance of keeping human rights on the agenda for Myanmar. This, he stressed, is particularly relevant in light of the ongoing violence in Rakhine State. The Special Rapporteur expressed concern that more lives have been lost in the violence and emphasised that the underlying causes of the tension and conflict between the Buddhist and Muslim communities in Rakhine State must be addressed as a priority...NEW YORK (25 October 2012) – The United Nations Special Rapporteur on the human rights situation in Myanmar, Tomás Ojea Quintana, today highlighted the importance of keeping human rights on the agenda for Myanmar. This, he stressed, is particularly relevant in light of the ongoing violence in Rakhine State. The Special Rapporteur expressed concern that more lives have been lost in the violence and emphasised that the underlying causes of the tension and conflict between the Buddhist and Muslim communities in Rakhine State must be addressed as a priority..."
Language: English
Source/publisher: United Nations
Format/size: pdf (169K)
Date of entry/update: 01 November 2012


Title: Statement of the Special Rapporteur on the Situation of Human Rights in Myanmar, Tomás Ojea Quintana, 4 August 2012, Yangon International Airport, Myanmar
Date of publication: 04 August 2012
Description/subject: "...To conclude, as reforms deepen in Myanmar, my mandate can help to highlight the importance of placing human rights standards and principles at the very heart of this process. Take, for instance, the flood of foreign investment that is beginning to enter the country. Adopting a human rights-based approach ensures that the principles of participation, non-discrimination, transparency, accountability and the rule of law guide this process. With this guiding framework of human rights, investments will serve to create a more fair and just society, in which the human rights of the people of Myanmar are fulfilled. The time to firmly embed a human rights-based approach in economic and social development is now. More generally, I believe that human rights should not fall off the agenda, and human rights concepts and principles need to be at the forefront of the entire reform process, driving it forward and keeping it focused on addressing the needs and aspirations of the people of Myanmar. It is my responsibility, as Special Rapporteur, to continue to emphasize this point..."
Author/creator: Tomás Ojea Quintana
Language: English
Source/publisher: United Nations
Format/size: pdf (74K)
Date of entry/update: 06 August 2012


Title: Statement of the Special Rapporteur on the Situation of Human Rights in Myanmar
Date of publication: 05 February 2012
Description/subject: 5 February 2012, Yangon International Airport, Myanmar... "...To conclude, I have previously stated that the steps taken by the Government had the potential to bring about an improvement in the human rights situation in Myanmar and deepen its transition to democracy. My mission confirmed that a positive impact has been made; however serious challenges remain and must be addressed. There is also a risk of backtracking on the progress achieved thus far. Therefore, at this crucial moment in the country’s history, further and sustained action should be taken to bring about further change. Prior to its assumption of the Chairpersonship of ASEAN in 2014, I would encourage Myanmar to demonstrate concrete progress in improving its human rights situation. The international community should remain engaged and should support and assist the Government during this important time..."
Author/creator: Tomas Ojea Quintana
Language: English
Source/publisher: UNDP (Myanmar)
Format/size: pdf (72K)
Date of entry/update: 06 February 2012


Title: Statement of the Special Rapporteur on the Situation of Human Rights in Myanmar
Date of publication: 25 August 2011
Description/subject: By Tomas Ojea Quintana, 25 August 2011, Yangon International Airport, Myanmar..... "I have just concluded my five-day mission to Myanmar - my fourth visit to the country since I was appointed in March 2008 and my first since February 2010. I would like to thank the Government of Myanmar for its invitation and hospitality, and for the cooperation and flexibility shown during my visit. During the mission, I met with the Minister of Foreign Affairs, the Minister of Home Affairs, the Minister of Defence, the Deputy Chief of Police, the Minister of Social Welfare, Relief and Resettlement, who also holds the position of the Minister of Labour, the Attorney-General, the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, the Union Election Commission and with some of the Presidential Advisors. I also met with the Speakers and members of the Pyi Thu and Amyotha Hluttaws, including representatives of ethnic political parties, and had the privilege to observe the second regular session of the Pyi Thu Hluttaw..."
Author/creator: Tomas Ojea Quintana
Language: English
Source/publisher: United Nations
Format/size: pdf (74K), html
Alternate URLs: http://unic.un.org/imucms/Dish.aspx?loc=80&pg=110
Date of entry/update: 25 August 2011