Rebuttal Statement at the Interactive Dialogue on the Situation of Human Rights in Myanmar during 37th Session of Human Rights Council
An interactive dialogue on the Situation of Human Rights in Myanmar was convened on Monday during the ongoing 37th Session of the Human Rights Council being held at the United Nations Office in Geneva from 26 February to 23 March 2018.
During the dialogue, Ms. Yanghee Lee, the Special Rapporteur on the Situation of Human Rights in Myanmar presented her report followed by the oral report of the Chair of the Independent International Fact- Finding Mission(FFM) on Myanmar to the Human Rights Council.
After that, U Htin Lynn, Permanent Representative of Myanmar made a rebuttal statement. In his statement, the Permanent Representative said that only two years in office, the present democratic government has been able to make progress in peace process and laying democratic foundations. Implementation of the recommendations of Advisory Commission on Rakhine State for a sustainable solution is also in progress.
He mentioned that while such efforts are well on track, the terrorist attacks in the Rakhine State in August 2017 have abruptly changed the state of affairs in Rakhine State. Restoring law and order to provide security for all is necessitated while the ARSA terrorist attacks and their instigation have impacted on the population. Daily lives and future of all ethnic groups: Rakhine, Daing-net, Mro, Thet, Mramagyi and people belonging to Buddhist, Muslim and Hindu faiths have been adversely affected. It has also led to displacement of people internally in Rakhine State and beyond the border. He highlighted that more of them and their villages still remain intact in Myanmar as witnessed by the diplomatic corps and UN entities in their recent visits. However, less-than-objective approach by some have brought a paradigm shift in the perception and attitude towards Myanmar. Ultimately, history will be the judge.
The Permanent Representative further stressed that State Counsellor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi has been striving for freedom, democracy and human rights in Myanmar even before she assumed the responsibility of state. It is unreasonable to assert that Myanmar leadership whose mission has human rights at its core remains indifferent to the allegations of grave human rights violations. The leadership and the government shall never tolerate such crimes. Myanmar is ready to take action where there is clear evidence. Legal action has already been taken against military and police officers and civilians who were found to be in breach of standard operating procedures and rules of engagement following the Inn Din incident. This action is a positive step forward in accountability.
He added Myanmar is prepared to work with any arrangement or mechanism which is in line with its national circumstances, and situation on the ground. However, it must be helpful to finding a lasting solution, not to exacerbate the challenges. Myanmar has been receiving the visits of successive special rapporteurs since 1992. Myanmar has also facilitated six visits of Professor Yanghee Lee to the country. Despite the fullest possible cooperation extended to her, the end-of-mission statement of last July lacks impartiality and objectivity while highlighting sweeping allegations and unverified information. It also failed to mention the terrorist attacks and clarifications provided by the authorities. Her non-compliance with the code of conduct as stipulated in Resolution A/HRC/RES/5/2 has caused public resentment against her. The issue was heatedly debated in Parliament (the Phyithu Hluttaw-House of Representatives) on 25 July 2017. Thus, the people and government of Myanmar came to a conclusion that it would no longer be productive to continue to extend cooperation to Ms. Yanghee Lee. In Myanmar’s view, there is a clear need to replace her. Meanwhile, the government of Myanmar is ready to extend our cooperation with the mandate of a Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Myanmar.
He also explained that in preparing facilities for the repatriation, bulldozing the ground is part of the process. Whatever government does should not be seen with pre-conceived mind and doubtful eyes. Myanmar is prepared to continue to cooperate with the international community and the United Nations. Myanmar is engaging with UNDP and UNHCR with regard to repatriation, resettlement and development in Rakhine State. Myanmar has received a concept note and shall be working further on it. Myanmar hopes that the international community will constructively contribute to our efforts to advance democratization process and to promote and protect human rights in line with the country’s circumstances and needs.