STATEMENT BY BANGLADESH REPRESENTATIVE AT THE THIRD COMMITTEE UNDER AGENDA ITEM 74 ON THE REPORT OF THE SPECIAL RAPPORTEUR, MS. YANGHEE LEE, ON THE SITUATION OF HUMAN RIGHTS IN MYANMAR,
23 OCTOBER 2018, CR 1, UNHQ
Thank you, Mr. Chair,
Bangladesh thanks Professor Lee for presenting her report on human rights development and challenges in Myanmar. The report deserves due consideration for its presentation of progress made in certain areas, while offering recommendations for addressing serious human rights issues of concern.
It is regrettable that the Special Rapporteur continues to be denied access to Myanmar. We commend her for engaging with a range of stakeholders in the backdrop of the Myanmar authorities’ refusal to engage.
The international community, including Bangladesh, remains committed to democratic consolidation in Myanmar. It is, therefore, disconcerting to see certain regressive trends that erode confidence in the prospects for lasting peace, stability and democracy. Bangladesh has a particular interest in supporting a rules- and rights-based democratic process in Myanmar from our own national security and development perspectives.
For obvious reasons, much of Professor Lee’s report focuses on the situation in Rakhine State, and the human rights violations faced by the Rohingya in Myanmar and other neighbouring countries. The environment of fear and persecution that continue to bedevil the lives of the Rohingya in Rakhine State shows little sign of dissipating. The IDP camps appear to remain the status quo even after six years of their erection. The Rohingya stranded along the border between Bangladesh and Myanmar have not been able to return home. It all bears proof of the sheer lack of an environment conducive to the voluntary, safe and dignified return of the Rohingya. Despite Bangladesh’s readiness to commence repatriation as envisaged, it would be hard for the Rohingya to opt for voluntary repatriation unless they see meaningful efforts to address the root causes behind their systematic discrimination, dehumanization and persecution in Myanmar.
This also relates to the fundamental question of accountability for the atrocity crimes committed against the Rohingya. The Human Rights Council’s Fact-Finding Mission has provided an evidence-based account of the intent, planning, execution and magnitude of the horrific crimes. The Special Rapporteur has taken pro-active initiative to recommend appropriate accountability mechanisms. We can only hope that the Myanmar authorities, the Security Council and the wider international community would see reason to adequately respond – not only for ensuring ‘never again’ for such crimes but also for truth and reconciliation to emerge in Myanmar’s fragile democratic polity.
We find it disturbing that Muslim communities in other parts of Myanmar are also facing multiple discriminations. The ultra-nationalist tendency among certain section of the Myanmar population that the Special Rapporteur has mentioned must be reined in before it takes an increasingly violent form.
We have taken note of the Special Rapporteur’s recommendations for addressing vulnerability to trafficking and sexual violence among the forcibly displaced Rohingya in Cox’s Bazar camps. In addition to encouraging relevant humanitarian actors to continue working on this, we have recently concluded a Framework of Cooperation with the Office of the Special Representative on Sexual Violence in Conflict. With regard to relocation to Bhashan Char, the situation in Cox’s Bazar remains untenable and will be addressed in consultation with all concerned, including the Rohingya.
Bangladesh will continue to remain engaged with the Special Rapporteur. The mandate will only be effective if the series of recommendations made by the five subsequent Special Rapporteurs were implemented by Myanmar in right earnest.
I thank you.