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Home > Main Library > The UN System and Burma/Myanmar > Main UN human rights bodies working on Burma (Myanmar) > United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) > Reports to the UN General Assembly by the Special Rapporteur on the Situation of Human Rights in Myanmar > Oral Statements by the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Myanmar

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Oral Statements by the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Myanmar

Individual Documents

Title: Myanmar: UN expert lists catalogue of concerns as human rights slide in worsening conflict
Date of publication: 24 July 2017
Description/subject: GENEVA (24 July 2017) – "A United Nations Special Rapporteur has issued a strongly worded statement accusing the Government of Myanmar of policies reminiscent of the previous military government, and of presiding over a worsening security and human rights situation. Yanghee Lee, ending a 12-day visit to the country, listed a catalogue of concerns including reports of killings, torture, the use of human shields by security forces, deaths in custody and an ongoing humanitarian crisis for the Rohingya people and other minorities forced from their homes. Her own movements had been severely restricted, she added, and access to crisis-hit areas remained off-limits even to international organizations. People who met her faced harassment, and the Government had sought to place unprecedented pre-conditions on her visit..."
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 Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Myanmar
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: Statement by Ms. Yanghee LEE, Special Rapporteur on the Situation of Human Rights in Myanmar at the 35th session of the Human Rights Council
Date of publication: 15 June 2017
Description/subject: Agenda item 4... Geneva, 15 June 2017... Mr President, "...During my last statement to you, I highlighted the shortcomings in the investigative mechanisms established by the Government to assess the situation in Rakhine State. Unfortunately, there have been no changes to address these concerns. In early March, the Maungdaw Investigation Commission conducted a three-day visit to Rakhine State, still without a robust methodology or witness protection policies in place. I remain unconvinced that the military investigation team, which recently announced its findings dismissing practically all allegations against the security forces as wrong or false, is sufficiently independent or impartial. I note the issuance of the interim report by the Advisory Commission on Rakhine State; and while Myanmar has said it “accepts totally” the interim recommendations therein, implementation has been tentative at best. Although the Government has been closing IDP camps as recommended, many individuals are not being permitted to return to their place of origin, despite their stated desire to do so. Muslims in Kyein Ni Pyin camp, most of who self-identify as Rohingya, were told that the Government would only provide housing in the location of their current displacement, whereas Kaman Muslims in Ramree were only offered transportation options to Yangon and financial support. In contrast, Rakhine Buddhists were offered re-settlement in a neighbouring area, in newly-built homes along with financial compensation, although they have raised concerns that the location is some distance from a school. I am worried that these different re-settlement practices offer little prospect of a durable solution for the 120,000 Rohingya still living in camps, and exacerbate the grievances between the Buddhist and Muslim communities. The Government has estimated that it will take five years to close all the camps, which means that some IDPs could spend as long as ten years confined in these camps. This is simply unacceptable. Distinguished representatives, During my statement in March, I highlighted the proposed joint benchmarks which the Human Rights Council invited me to work with the Government to develop. In the months since then, I have still not seen significant developments on the majority of these benchmarks. In my next visit to Myanmar in July, I hope to discuss with my interlocutors how we can work together to develop a work plan and time frame for their swift implementation. I recognize the inherent difficulties in any democratic transition, and as always, I seek to work with Myanmar to address and overcome the challenges she faces. I stand ready to assist in any way I can to achieve a Myanmar where the rights and fundamental freedoms of all are respected and fully realized. Thank you "
Author/creator: Yanghee Lee
Language: English
Source/publisher: Human Rights Council, 35th Session
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: Yanghee Lee on the Situation of Human Rights in Myanmar - Press Conference
Date of publication: 29 October 2015
Author/creator: Yanghee Lee
Language: English
Source/publisher: UN Press Conference
Format/size: Adobe Flash (25 Minutes)
Date of entry/update: 09 November 2015


Title: Statement by Yanghee Lee, Special Rapporteur on the Situation of Human Rights in Myanmar at the 70h session of the General Assembly Third Committee Item 72 (c)
Date of publication: 28 October 2015
Description/subject: "...Four years of reforms have undeniably improved the human rights situation in Myanmar. The elections, which will take place in 11 days, will be an important milestone in the democratic transition process. In my report, I welcome measures taken to address some of the shortcomings of the 2010 elections as well as measures to increase the transparency of the process. The environment and preparations for the elections, and their actual conduct, are important in determining whether they are transparent, inclusive, participatory, free and fair, in line with international standards. In this regard, the disqualification of a reported 61 candidates (the majority being Muslims) on grounds related to their citizenship or the citizenship of their parents is of concern. This includes parliamentarians who were previously deemed eligible to stand for elections in 2010. While 11 candidates have been reinstated, many remain disqualified. Disqualifications should not have a discriminatory effect which would be inconsistent with international law. I am also concerned by the disenfranchisement of hundreds of thousands of individuals from across Myanmar society. This includes Rohingya and individuals of Chinese and Indian descent who previously held temporary registration cards and had the right to vote in past elections. Given its disproportionate impact on minority communities, in particular the Rohingya, this decision is discriminatory. Also, the cancellation of voting rights without due process runs counter to international human rights standards and good practice. Migrant workers, internally displaced persons, refugees and those living abroad also face potential disenfranchisement as do individuals living in flood-affected and conflict-affected areas. In this regard, I note the announcement by the Union Election Commission that polling will not take place in over 500 village tracts for security reasons – a decision which will likely affect hundreds of thousands of individuals. Additionally, I note concerns regarding errors in voter lists and the low number of women candidates. While I welcome the invitations extended to national and international observers, the recent announcement that advance voting out of home constituencies – a category that includes advance voting by the military – will not be open to observers is disappointing; this goes against the assurances given to me by the Chair of the Union Election Commission. The period after the elections, prior to the election of a new President and the formation of a new Government, may see instability and tension if the election outcomes are not widely accepted as credible and legitimate. It is therefore vital that the United Nations system and the international community at large continue to remain engaged and to monitor the situation closely..."
Language: English
Source/publisher: United Nations General Assembly (Third Committee)
Format/size: html
Date of entry/update: 09 November 2015


Title: GA 2014-69th Session: Oral Statement by the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Myanmar
Date of publication: 28 October 2014
Description/subject: This statement supplements the Special Rapporteur's written report, A/69/398, of 23 September 2014 - http://www.burmalibrary.org/docs19/2014-UNGA69-SRMreport-en.pdf ..... "...In my report I recognize the important gains made through Myanmar’s reform process to date. I commend the initial reforms that have undoubtedly improved the political, economic, social and human rights landscape in the three years since the establishment of the new Government. Yet, there are signs of possible backtracking which, if not addressed, could undermine Myanmar’s efforts to take its rightful place as a responsible member of the international community that respects and protects human rights. I urge the Government of Myanmar to continue its partnership with the international community to ensure that human rights lie at the foundation of its democratic transition..."
Author/creator: Yanghee Lee
Language: English
Source/publisher: United Nations General Assembly
Format/size: pdf (59K)
Alternate URLs: http://statements.unmeetings.org/media2/4654485/rev-lee-statement-of-sr-on-myanmar-to-ga-final-1-.p...
Date of entry/update: 31 October 2014