UN Human Rights Council condemns Myanmar on violations against Rohingyas

The United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC), in a resolution adopted on Tuesday afternoon, has condemned the alleged systematic and gross violations of human rights and abuses committed against persons belonging to the Rohingya Muslim community and other minorities in Myanmar.

The resolution was adopted during the 27th special session of the Human Rights Council convened especially to discuss the human rights situation of the minority Rohingya Muslim population and other minorities in the Rakhine State of Myanmar. The resolution was adopted by a vote of 33 in favour, three against and nine abstentions.

The Council strongly condemned the alleged systematic and gross violations of human rights and abuses committed in Myanmar, in particular in Rakhine state, notably against persons belonging to the Rohingya Muslim community and other minorities, including women and children.

It condemned the attacks against Myanmar police and military posts carried out on 25 August 2017 and all acts of violence against the security forces and stressed that the challenges facing Rakhine state and other areas in Myanmar could be resolved only through peaceful means.

In the resolution, the Council called upon the Government of Myanmar to ensure the protection of the human rights of all persons in Myanmar, including persons belonging to the Rohingya Muslim community and other minorities. It requested the High Commissioner to prepare a comprehensive written report on the situation, including on the level of cooperation and access given to the Fact-Finding Mission and other United Nations human rights mechanisms, the implementation of the present resolution, the findings and recommendations of the United Nations system on the situation of human rights of Rohingya people in Rakhine state and recommendations on a future course of action, to present the report to the Human Rights Council at its fortieth session, and to submit the report to the General Assembly for its consideration.

On its part, Myanmar, speaking as the concerned country, said that with the adoption of yet another country-specific resolution, it was regrettable to see that the collective efforts to ensure the promotion and protection of human rights around the globe were slowly drifting away from the principles of non-politicization, objectivity and impartiality.  Myanmar must be a part of the solution, and not a part of the problem, and the international community must avoid fanning the flames on the ground.  Some elements of the resolution infringed on the sovereignty of Myanmar and others were far from the truth.  Myanmar disassociated itself from the resolution, noting that the complexity of the issues in Rakhine state was immense, and the international community must get a better understanding of the situation there.

Before the Council adopted the resolution, it continued its general debate, in which speakers stressed that peace, stability, harmony and reconciliation among all the communities in Rakhine state must be urgently achieved, and noted that there were no easy solutions for this difficult and complex situation with roots dating back more than half a century.  Many stated their support for the agreement between Bangladesh and Myanmar on the return of the Rohingya to their places of origin in Rakhine state; they stressed the duty of the Government of Myanmar to provide them with all necessary security guarantees, and its responsibility to ensure that all returns were voluntary, safe, sustainable and dignified.  Others expressed concern about this agreement which sought to hasten the return of Rohingya to an unsafe environment in which the commission of further atrocities remained highly likely.  Before any safe, voluntary and dignified return of refugees could take place, all abuses against Rohingya must cease, and all perpetrators of atrocities committed since October 2016 must be held accountable, they stressed.

Speaking in the general debate were Estonia, Turkey, Kuwait, Spain, Denmark, Jordan, Russia, Senegal, Australia, Singapore, Luxembourg, Libya, Greece, Austria, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Norway, Lebanon, Sweden, Iran, Costa Rica, Italy, Viet Nam, Iceland, Bahrain, Israel, Algeria, New Zealand, Afghanistan, Uruguay, Sudan and Azerbaijan.

Saudi Arabia and Bangladesh took the floor to introduce the text of the resolution, according to UN office.

After the adoption of the resolution, Bangladesh spoke on behalf of the Core Group of sponsors, and the United States, Egypt and Indonesia took the floor in an explanation of the vote after the vote.

Dilip Chakma

Dilip Chakma

Dilip Chakma is a lawyer and alumni of the National Law School of India University (NLSIU).
Dilip Chakma
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