• Myanmar: Independent investigation needs access and international community must ensure accountability

    Statement at the 45th Session of the UN Human Rights Council

    Interactive Dialogue with the Independent Investigative Mechanism for Myanmar 

    Thank you, Madame President,

    We thank the Independent Investigative Mechanism for its second report.

    We particularly welcome efforts articulated towards outreach and engagement with local and regional civil society. 

    We are alarmed by the continuing lack of access granted to Myanmar to the Independent Investigative Mechanism for Myanmar (IIMM), which has been exacerbated owing to the COVID-19 pandemic. For the mechanism to fulfil its mandate, it is crucial that it has access to information including to relevant evidence of serious international crimes and witnesses. Ongoing failure to ensure unfettered access to journalists, humanitarian actors and human rights monitors to Rakhine state also puts this in jeopardy. We call on the government to grant access to the Mechanism and other actors as a matter of urgency. We further call on Facebook to uphold its commitment to cooperate by providing all relevant evidence it holds, noting that to date it has only partially complied with such requests.

    Myanmar’s future depends on a clear demonstration from the international community that any international crimes will not be tolerated. It also depends on those in Myanmar who speak out on violations and advocate for positive change being listened to, rather than persecuted. We call on the Myanmar government to do so.

    Pursuing criminal accountability is a long process and requires long-term sustainability. We call on the Council to ensure that the Mechanism can enjoy such sustainability by ensuring it adequate resources. We further call on the international community to recognize that the vital work of the Mechanism is only one stage of this process, and to take steps to ensure progress towards accountability is made: including by referring Myanmar to the International Criminal Court or an independent tribunal, and exercising universal jurisdiction to hold the perpetrators accountable. 

    Failing to do so would be a grave abdication of responsibility to the victims of grave human rights violations, their families and communities, who have deserved accountability and justice for so long.

    We ask the Mechanism what steps it is taking to systematize engagement with civil society, and what steps it is taking to ensure sustainability in the event of budget restrictions?

    Thank you.

    Civic space in Myanmar is rated as Repressed by the CIVICUS Monitor.

    Current council members:

    Afghanistan, Angola, Argentina, Armenia, Australia, Austria, Bahamas, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Bulgaria, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Chile, Czech Republic, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Denmark, Eritrea, Fiji, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Libya, Marshall Islands, Mauritania, Mexico, Namibia, Nepal, Netherlands, Nigeria, Poland, Pakistan, Peru, Philippines, Qatar, Republic of Korea, Senegal, Slovakia, SomaliaSudan, Spain, Togo, Ukraine, Uruguay, Venezuela

    Civic space ratings from the CIVICUS Monitor




  • Myanmar: International action needed to restore democracy and protect rights

    Statement at the 46th Session of the UN Human Rights Council


  • Myanmar: Lift Internet Restrictions in Rakhine and Chin States

    Mobile internet blackout in four townships in Rakhine State among the world’s longest running.


  • Myanmar: Regional bloc must move beyond the failed consensus

    One year on, since adopting the Five-Point Consensus on Myanmar, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and its member states have not achieved any progress in addressing the human rights and humanitarian crisis perpetrated by the military junta.


  • Myanmar: Release all activists and politicians detained and restore democracy

    GettyImages 1299737267 Save Myanmar

    Global civil society alliance CIVICUS is alarmed that the military’s takeover of control of Myanmar from the civilian government represents a sharp reversal of the partial yet significant progress toward democracy made in recent years following five decades of military rule and international isolation.


  • Myanmar: Situation remains a human rights catastrophe

     Statement at 47th Session of the UN Human Rights Council

     Delivered by Lisa Majumdar

    Thank you, Madame President,

    We welcome the High Commissioner’s oral update, and that this critical opportunity to address the ongoing crisis in Myanmar was not lost.

    It is over five months since the military junta deposed Myanmar’s elected government, and the situation remains a human rights catastrophe.

    Efforts towards regional diplomacy have not borne results. The five-point plan adopted by ASEAN in April is yet to be implemented and has not resulted in any efforts towards de-escalation, or lessening of loss to life. Instead, armed conflict and other violence are intensifying, with violence particularly intense in areas with significant ethnic and religious minority groups. We urge the Council to ensure that any measures it takes this Session to address intersecting crises in Myanmar takes into account this full context.

    Sweeping arrests of activists, journalists and opponents of the regime have continued across the country. Thousands have been arbitrarily arrested and detained and some have been tortured or ill-treated. They include human rights defenders, trade unionists, student activists, poets, writers, filmmakers and monks. Activists face baseless charges including ‘treason’ which is punishable by up to 20 years in prison or ‘incitement’ which is punishable by up to three years in prison.

    At least 88 journalists have been arrested since the coup, as well as lawyers defending political prisoners. Dozens have fled the country or have sought refuge in territories controlled by ethnic armed organisations. The internet shutdowns, which began following the coup, have now reached a new level of severity.

    The people of Myanmar cannot afford to wait and see if regional diplomacy efforts will take effect. We call on States to call for the release of political prisoners and ensure an end to a free-flowing supply of weapons to a military which shows no intention of ending its campaign of bloodshed. We welcome that several States have imposed targeted sanctions on key individuals of the military and call on other States to do the same. It is the responsibility of States to ensure that perpetrating human rights atrocities bears a cost.

    We thank you.

    Civic space in Myanmar is rated as Repressed by the CIVICUS Monitor.


  • Myanmar: States must ensure that rhetoric at the UN translates to action on the ground

    Statement at the 48th Session of the UN Human Rights Council

     Interactive Dialogue with Special Rapporteur on Myanmar

    Delivered by Lisa Majumdar

    We thank the Special Rapporteur for his progress report.

    More than a thousand civilians have been killed in Myanmar since February’s coup. The junta has continued its terror campaign against human rights defenders. Many have been forced into hiding. Many others, unable to flee, have been arbitrarily arrested, including environmental and labour rights defenders and student activists. Some have been tortured or ill-treated.

    Arbitrary amendments of the penal code by the junta, outlawing so-called ‘false news,’ has effectively made independent journalism a crime. The threat of arrest has driven many news organisations to close their offices and forced journalists underground or into exile. Two journalists were arrested just last month at an apartment where they had been hiding in Yangon. Authorities have banned satellite media and imposed rolling restrictions on the internet.

    The situation in Myanmar cannot be forgotten and its fragile democratic gains lost to history. Dictatorship must not be allowed to remain in place through inadequacy of the international response.

    The Special Rapporteur has already made urgent calls on States:

    • To outlaw the export of arms to the Myanmar military, as called for by the General Assembly;
    • To impose systemic sanctions, targeting military-controlled enterprises;
    • To cordinate investigations of ongoing crimes under universal jurisdiction;
    • To increase humanitarian aid through the National Unity Government, local humanitarian networks and community-based organisations;
    • And to reject any claims of legitimacy that the junta may try to assert.

    We call on States to take these steps to ensure that rhetoric at the UN translates to action to provide the support so desperately needed by those on the ground.

    Thank you.

    Civic space in Myanmar is rated as repressed by the CIVICUS Monitor


  • Myanmar: The deterioration of civic freedoms a year on from the coup

    On 1 February 2021, the Myanmar military junta seized power in a coup. The junta arrested the civilian leaders of the national and state governments and declared a state of emergency.

    The junta unleashed a deadly crackdown following mass mobilisation by a ‘civil disobedience movement against the coup. In the last year, peaceful protests have been violently disrupted. The junta arbitrarily arresting or prosecuting activists, students, protesters and journalists, and political prisoners have been tortured or ill-treated. The junta have shut off various communications services – including mobile services and internet access, blocked humanitarian aid and attacked entire villages, forcibly displacing tens of thousands.

    The UN and numerous countries condemned the coup, and some members of the international community have imposed sanctions. But regional efforts to address the crisis or halt the grave human rights violations have been minimal. The five-point consensus agreement decided by ASEAN leaders in Jakarta in April 2021 has seen little tangible progress.

    Nearly a year after the coup, serious violations are still being reported daily – some of which may amount to crimes against humanity - and the human rights and humanitarian crisis continues unabated in Myanmar.

    Lethal crackdown on protests

    Mass protests and strikes took place across Myanmar against the coup. Under the banner of the civil disobedience movement (CDM), doctors, teachers and other civil servants mobilised alongside students and the workers’ movement.

    In response, the Myanmar security forces intensified their crackdown on protests using violent crowd dispersal techniques. The use of water cannon, tear gas, rubber bullets, and sound grenades escalated to battlefield weapons, including assault rifles, light machine guns, sniper rifles and live grenades. Large numbers of battle-hardened troops were deployed into towns and cities to quell the protests. The human rights group Assistance Association for Political Prisoners (Burma) has reported 1,493 individuals killed as of 25 January 2022.

    Facing increasing violence from the security forces, demonstrators attempted to protect themselves with homemade shields and construct barricades across roads. Despite this, hundreds have been killed and thousands injured. Nevertheless, protests have persisted.

    Arrest and criminalisation of activists and protesters

    According to AAPPB, a total of 8788 individuals are currently in detention. They include human rights defenders, lawyers, trade unionists, student activists, LGBTQI+ activists, poets, writers, filmmakers and monks. Some were taken in terrifying night-time raids. Others were abducted off the streets, held in secret facilities out of contact with their families and denied access to lawyers. Hundreds of political prisoners have been held in Insein Prison, one of Myanmar’s most notorious jails, on the outskirts of Yangon, Myanmar’s largest city.

    In  February 2021, the military regime announced amendments to the Penal Code to stifle dissent. Following the coup, a new ‘incitement’ provision, section 505A, was added to criminalise comments that could “cause fear,” spread “false news, [or] agitates directly or indirectly a criminal offence against a Government employee” – which would include any comments on the illegitimacy of the coup or the military government. Violation of the section is punishable by up to three years in prison.

    The junta also significantly broadened the “treason” provisions in section 124 of the Penal Code. Section124A already criminalised comments that “bring into hatred or contempt” or “excite disaffection against” the government. This was expanded to include comments relating to the defence services and defence services personnel, effectively criminalising any criticism of the military or military personnel. Violation of the section is punishable by up to 20 years in prison.

    Following the coup, these provisions and other trumped-up charges have been brought against activists and protesters. In further attempts to spread fear, Myanmar’s junta have arrested family members of dissidents in an effort to pressure the dissidents to turn themselves in.

    Journalists at risk

    The junta has systematically targeted journalists since the coup. Over 100 journalists have been arrested, and at least 26 are still imprisoned as of 1 December 2021. Many were detained during newsroom raids or while covering anti-coup street protests. The junta published lists of journalists wanted for providing information about the pro-democracy protests; unsurprisingly, a number of journalists have gone into hiding or have had to flee the country.

    Many have been charged for violating section 505(a) of the penal code, a new provision that makes it a crime to publish or circulate comments that “cause fear” or spread “false news.” Other charges brought against journalists include alleged violations of the Telecommunications Act, the Immigration Act, the Unlawful Association Act, the Insubordination Act and the Natural Disaster Prevention Law.

    In October 2021, it was reported that three journalists jailed by the junta are now facing terrorism charges that could see them sentenced to several years in prison. The journalists are Win Naing Oo, a senior Channel Mandalay reporter, D Myat Nyein, a reporter with the now-defunct Zayar Times in Sagaing Region, and Pyae Phyo Aung, who worked for the same outlet.

    Civil society organisations affected

    The coup has also had a negative impact on civil society organisations due to the legal, financial, and other threats civil society groups are facing. According to a report commissioned by the PROTECT Consortium, one immediate impact of the coup was that many CSOs were forced to reduce or suspend their operations or close their offices. Important documents and files had to move to safer places in different locations, and civil society leaders fearing their lives had to go into hiding or leave the country.

    There are also concerns about the renewal of registration of CSOs, which is granted on a five-year basis and which allows them, among other things, to open organisation bank accounts in the country and receive funding from international donors. Requirements to regularly report on organisational activities is another security concern for registered organisations, as it will be dangerous to share full details about their work. CSOs are also concerned about long term funding given the completely different operating environment in the country post-coup.

    Crackdown on politicians and lawmakers

    Since the junta took control, more than 600 elected lawmakers and officials from the ruling National League for Democracy (NLD) party have been detained in different parts of the country. According to recent reports, more than three-quarters remain in detention.

    In April 2021, the junta declared the National Unity Government (NUG), a parallel government  formed by the Committee Representing Pyidaungsu Hluttaw (CRPH) – deposed lawmakers, who had been elected in November 2020 – as an “illegal organisation.” In May 2021, the CRPH and NUG were designated as ‘terrorist groups’. The declaration means that anyone arrested on suspicion of affiliation with the groups would face 10 years to life imprisonment if convicted, according to the country’s Counterterrorism Law.

    The ousted de facto leader of Myanmar, Aung San Suu Kyi, has been found guilty of incitement against the military under Section 505 (b) and for alleged breaches of COVID-19 measures under Section 25 of the Natural Disaster Management Law and for possessing “illegally imported” walkie-talkies. She faces other politically-motivated charges, including corruption and election fraud, which carry a total potential sentence of more than 100 years in prison.

    Torture and ill-treatment of political prisoners

    There have been continued reports of torture or ill-treatment of political prisoners by the military junta in various prisons and detention centres and, in particular, in Insein Prison, one of Myanmar’s most notorious jails, situated on the outskirts of Yangon.

    In May 2021, it was reported that political prisoners were tortured during interrogation at the hands of authorities. Many were tortured in military compounds, where fellow inmates also suffered abuse while blindfolded throughout intake interrogations. Prisoners were forced to eat from the concrete floor with hands cuffed behind their backs. In June 2021, it was reported that 32 young activists who were arrested for opposing the military coup were tortured during the interrogation process in the Tanintharyi Region. They were made to kneel and were beaten with belts, sticks, metal pipes and chains.

    A report by the Associated Press (AP) in October 2021 found that the junta has been torturing those it has detained in a methodical and systemic way across the country. While most of the torture has occurred inside military compounds, the military has also transformed public facilities such as community halls into makeshift interrogation centres, with multiple military units and police involved in interrogations. The military has taken steps to hide evidence that it has tortured prisoners, with several prisoners saying interrogators brutalised only the parts of their bodies that could be hidden by clothes. Most inmates slept on concrete floors, packed like sardines. Some became sick from drinking dirty water only available from a shared toilet. Cockroaches swarmed over their bodies at night. There was little to no medical treatment.

    The All Burma Federation of Student Unions (ABFSU) said in January 2022 that it had evidence that three of its members had been tortured by having bamboo sticks thrust inside their rectums in the notorious Mandalay Palace interrogation centre. All three have been denied treatment for their injuries.

    Teachers and health workers targeted

    Civil servants in Myanmar have been involved in the civilian disobedience movement from the start and have been targeted by the junta for their resistance. In May 2021, it was reported that the military junta had suspended more than 125,000 schoolteachers and 19,500 university staff for joining the movement.

    Health workers have been targeted for participating in the protest movement and providing medical care to injured civilians. A report by Insecurity Insight, Physicians for Human Rights (PHR) and Johns Hopkins University Center for Public Health and Human Rights (CPHHR) in August 2021 found that there had been at least 252 attacks and threats against health workers, facilities and transport. 190 health workers were arrested, 37 health workers were injured, and 25 health workers were killed. Hospitals were raided at least 86 times and occupied by the junta at least 55 times.

    Communications blockade

    As the military coup was underway in February 2021, internet and phone outages were imposed in several parts of the country. Data from the internet monitoring service Netblocks shows disruptions on network operators, including state-owned Myanmar Posts and Telecommunications (MPT) and an international operator, Telenor.

    Over the year, the junta has attempted to block various forms of communications to interfere with protestors organising and make it harder for citizens, journalists, and human rights activists to broadcast what was happening on the ground to the rest of the world.

    Multiple telecoms companies have been ordered to shut off various communications services, including mobile data, roaming and public wi-fi, for varying lengths of time.

    In March 2021, the junta amended the Electronic Transactions Law to prevent the free flow of information and criminalise the dissemination of information through cyberspace, including expression critical of the coup or the acts of the junta. They include provisions

    that provide criminal penalties for “unauthorised” access to online material and for the creation of “misinformation or disinformation with the intent of causing public panic, loss of trust or social division on cyberspace.”

    In May 2021, the junta added a ban on satellite television to existing restrictions on the internet which appeared to be targeted at independent Burmese language broadcasters such as the Democratic Voice of Burma (DVB) and Mizzima.

    Internet users in at least seven townships in the Sagaing and Mandalay regions experienced limited or no service since 14 September 2021. This came a week after Myanmar’s shadow National Unity Government (NUG) announced the start of a “resistance war” against the regime. On 23 September 2021, the junta cut off mobile internet access and most wi-fi services to 11 townships in Chin State and the Magway Region war-torn areas.

    Restrictions and attacks on humanitarian groups

    The junta has continued to shell, conduct airstrikes, and raid and torch villages across the country, targeting the resistance movement and Ethnic Armed Organizations (EAO) - which have taken public positions against the coup - and displacing tens of thousands of civilians. According to the UN, as of 27 December 2021, an estimated 320,900 people remained internally displaced across Myanmar due to clashes and insecurity since the coup.

    In December 2021, Human Rights Watch reported that the junta had imposed new travel restrictions on humanitarian workers, blocked access roads and aid convoys, destroyed non-military supplies and attacked aid workers. The junta’s interference in relief operations has disregarded calls for unhindered aid delivery by the UN General Assembly, Human Rights Council, Security Council, the European Parliament, and donor governments.

    Two Save the Children’s staff members were among at least 35 people, including women and children, who were killed on 24 December 2021 in a brutal attack by the Myanmar military in Kayah State, in the east of the country.

    The regional and international response

    Human rights groups have continued to criticise ASEAN for its failure to address the human rights violations in Myanmar and for shielding the Myanmar military from international pressure and accountability.

    Immediately following the coup, ASEAN was divided on a collective response. On 24 April 2021, a regional ASEAN summit was held in Jakarta. A statement released after the summit said ASEAN leaders and foreign ministers had finally reached a consensus on five points. They included asking for an immediate cessation of the violence and opening a dialogue between the military and civilian leaders, with the process overseen by a special ASEAN envoy who would visit with a delegation. The group also offered humanitarian assistance. However, the statement made no mention of the thousands who have been arbitrarily detained by the military, including activists, peaceful protesters and journalists and offered no timeline for these actions to be taken or an implementing mechanism. The summit also failed to acknowledge the National Unity Government (NUG).

    On 4 August 2021, ASEAN finally appointed Erywan Yusof, the second foreign minister of Brunei Darussalam, as its special envoy to Myanmar more than 100 days after the Jakarta meeting. Myanmar civil society groups rejected the appointment and expressed “deep disappointment with ASEAN and their lack of inclusive decision-making process”.

    In an unprecedented move, ASEAN agreed in October 2021 to bar Myanmar’s military chief Min Aung Hlaing over his failure to implement the five-point consensus. Southeast Asian leaders voiced disappointment at the Myanmar junta during the first day of their annual meeting. In November 2021, however, Cambodia took over the chairmanship of ASEAN Expectations of any further positive steps have been low.

    In early January 2022, civil society groups slammed as ‘rogue diplomacy’ the visit of Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen, on behalf of Cambodia and as Chair of ASEAN, to Myanmar to meet with the junta representative, General Min Aung Hlaing. They called on ASEAN to refrain from further actions that legitimise the junta and effectively implement the five-point consensus. The visit was conducted without consensus from other ASEAN member states, as leaders were divided on this matter.

    At the international level, the UN Security Council has called for an immediate cessation of violence across Myanmar and efforts to ensure the safety of civilians. It has failed to impose a global arms embargo on Myanmar as demanded by civil society groups. China and Russia, which hold veto power on the Security Council and neighbouring India, are the major arms providers to Myanmar. The UN Human Rights Council has also deplored the removal of the elected government, called for the unconditional release of all those arbitrarily detained, and highlighted the need for accountability.

    Canada, the European Union, the United Kingdom, and the United States have imposed various targeted sanctions against Myanmar’s top military officials and military-controlled companies. However, no governments have imposed sanctions or other economic blocks on the junta’s oil and natural gas revenues, its single largest source of foreign currency.

    Recommendations to ASEAN and the international community:

    • Call upon the military junta to release all individuals arbitrarily detained human rights defenders, journalists, protesters, politicians, civil society members and refrain from the use of excessive force and firearms against protesters
    • Urge the military junta to allow unfettered Internet access, including on all mobile phone networks, lift all restrictions on access to media sites social media platforms and refrain from imposing any further restrictions against the use of the internet.
    • Raise concerns publicly in multilateral fora including the upcoming Human Rights Council, and renew the Human Rights Council resolution on Myanmar to maintain the crucial UN Special Rapporteur mandate
    • Engage with the National Unity Government (NUG) as the legitimate government of Myanmar, including in multilateral fora such as the UN Human Rights Council and General Assembly.
    • Urge the Security Council to immediately impose a comprehensive arms embargo on Myanmar and cooperate fully with UN mandates.
    • Cooperate with international mechanisms to meaningfully implement the ASEAN five-point consensus and to hold the junta accountable for its crimes
    • Take proactive steps in providing humanitarian assistance, particularly in ethnic and ceasefire areas.
    • Provide material and diplomatic support to civil society, journalists and activists at risk.



  • Myanmar: the junta’s efforts to erase religious minorities must be stopped

    Statement at the 52nd Session of the UN Human Rights Council 

    Interactive Dialogue with the High Commissioner on Myanmar

    Delivered by Kyaw Win, Burma Human Rights Network (BHRN) 

    Thank you, Mr. President.

    While religious oppression has been a longstanding issue in Burma, the coup emboldened the junta to further persecute, marginalise and incite violence against religious minorities. The junta perpetuates its efforts to erase the identity of all six Muslim minority groups through the denial of their citizenship. Rohingya Muslims are coerced to accept National Verification Cards, which do not provide a predictable or accessible pathway to citizenship, nor does it increase access to rights, including freedom of movement. Nonetheless, some UN agencies and embassies continue to endorse  National Verification Cards (NVCs) as a pragmatic solution to end statelessness. Due to their lack of citizenship, Muslims who have been forced to flee Myanmar are faced with statelessness.

    Divisive and hateful rhetoric targeting non-Buddhist religious groups is used to divide the resistance and divert attention from the coup, Since the coup, BHRN has documented cases of looting, burning, and destruction of properties, shops, and places of worship of Muslim communities. Since the coup, over 20 Islamic religious buildings were attacked by the military and more than 770 houses in Muslim villages have been burned down in Sagaing region. There has also been an increasing number of cases of arbitrary arrest, detention, torture, and killing of Muslims.

    The UN and the international community have not done enough. The longer the international community waits to act, the more emboldened the junta becomes as it continues to commit atrocities. We ask the High Commissioner what the international community should do to ensure accountability for serious human rights violations committed by the junta, to cut revenue streams to the junta, to support Rohingya and other minorities in Myanmar and those fleeing to neighbouring countries.

    We thank you.

    Civic space in Myanmar is rated as "Repressed" by the CIVICUS Monitor



  • Myanmar: The root causes of violations against the Rohingya & other minorities cannot be addressed without accountability

    Statements at the 50th Session of the UN Human Rights Council

    CIVICUS and our partner, Burma Human Rights Network delivered two statements on the situation of Rohingya and other minorities in and outside Myanmar, please read them below:

    Interactive Dialogue on High Commisioner Oral update on Myanmar

    Delivered by Kyaw Win, Burma Human Rights Network (BHRN)

    Thank you, Mr. President.

    CIVICUS and the Burma Human Rights Network (BHRN) thanks the High Commissioner for her update.

    We remain deeply concerned about the situation and lack of accountability for violations against the Rohingya and other minorities inside and outside Myanmar.

    Monitoring by BHRN has found that arbitrary arrests and restriction of movement continue to occur. On 31 March, ten Rohingyas were arrested on a bus at a checkpoint in Ann Township in Rakhine State by a joint team of military, police, and immigration officials. On 29 April, four Rohingya Muslim women were arrested at a checkpoint in the same township.

    BHRN has documented a steady increase in anti-Muslim hate speech and disinformation in the country. On 2 April, a post on the social media site Facebook included fabricated information, suggesting that jihadists support the pro-democratic activities in Myanmar. The post was liked by hundreds of Facebook users. On 21 April another post on Facebook accused the pro-democracy group People Defence Force (PDF) of killing Buddhist monks with the support of Muslims.

    It is abundantly clear that the conditions are not in place for the safe voluntary return of displaced Rohingya communities, and will not be so as long as the military junta holds power, and we call on the Council to support a resolution which reflects these serious concerns.

    We further call on States to take proactive steps in providing humanitarian assistance through local networks, particularly in ethnic and ceasefire areas, protect new Rohingya asylum seekers and provide material and diplomatic support to civil society, journalists and activists at risk.

    Thank you.

    The root causes of violations against the Rohingya and other minorities cannot be addressed without accountability

    Panel discussion on the situation of Rohingya and other minorities in Myanmar

    Delivered by Kyaw Win

    Thank you, Mr President, and thank you to the panellists.

    CIVICUS and the Burma Human Rights Network are deeply concerned about the situation of Rohingya Muslims and other minorities in Myanmar.

    The Burmese military has increased its attacks on marginalised minorities throughout the country since the coup in February 2021. It frequently uses arson attacks on minority areas. Civilians have regularly been shot arbitrarily by the military in areas where no conflict or armed groups are present. Hatred and hate speech against Rohingya Muslims and other minorities has persisted.

    If mass atrocities, including genocide, can be perpetrated by the military against the Rohingya, other minorities are at risk. Tensions in Chin State, too, have escalated since the coup, with the junta building up their troop presence in the state. Chin State is majority Christian and ethnic minority.

    The efforts by the international community so far have not altered the junta’s course or stopped them from attacking civilians and the restrictions, arrests and attacks on civil society and journalists has made it increasingly difficult to monitor and document these crimes.

    We call on the international community to stem the flow of arms and finances towards the military junta by imposing sanctions on all enterprises that the military directly profits from, particularly the energy sector, and to support a global arms embargo to prevent the military from resupplying weapons that they will use to harm and kill innocent civilians and target minority groups.

    We stress again that the conditions for safe, dignified voluntary return are not in place, and have no prospect of being so while the junta remains in a position of power. The root causes of violations against the Rohingya and other minorities cannot be addressed without accountability.

    We ask panellists what immediate steps can be taken to protect minority groups in Myanmar and to support civil society groups working on this?

    Civic space in Myanmar is rated as "Repressed" by the CIVICUS Monitor.



  • Myanmar: UN review critical moment to address repressed civic freedoms

    Statement on Myanmar ahead of Universal Periodic Review on Human Rights

    CIVICUS, Free Expression Myanmar and Asia Democracy Network call on UN member states to urge the Government of Myanmar to protect civic freedoms as its human rights record is examined by the UN Human Rights Council on 25 January 2021 as part of the 37th session of the Universal Periodic Review (UPR). 

    At the county’s second UPR five years ago, UN member states made 22 recommendations that directly related to civic space. Myanmar subsequently accepted seven recommendations, committing to taking concrete measures to, among others, “create and maintain a safe and enabling environment for civil society, human rights defenders and journalists” and to “work to ensure that freedom of opinion and expression are protected”.

    In a joint submission to this UPR cycle, our organisations assessed implementation of these recommendations and compliance with international human rights law and standards over the last five years. The submission found that since 2015, the authorities have perpetrated serious human rights violations and escalated attacks on democratic freedoms. 

    The government has continued to use an array of unwarrantedly restrictive laws to arrest and prosecute human rights defenders, activists, journalists and government critics for the peaceful exercise of their freedoms of association and expression. Artists have also been targeted: members of the Peacock Generation ‘Thangyat’ poetry troupe remain jailed following their arrest in 2019 for allegedly criticising the military in a satirical performance that was livestreamed on Facebook. Since June 2019, the government has imposed an effective internet blackout in parts of Rakhine and Chin States and silenced those critical of the shutdown.

    ‘States must take the opportunity of Myanmar’s UPR to hold the government to account for violations,’ said David Kode, Advocacy and Campaign Lead at CIVICUS. ‘Myanmar has not adequately delivered on the human rights commitments it made during its last cycle and those on the ground being persecuted for demanding reforms, for reporting on atrocities or simply for expressing dissent, need support from the international community.’

    Myanmar further committed in its last UPR to “take concrete steps to promote and protect the right of peaceful assembly.” As our submission shows, however, restrictions on peaceful protests remain in law and practice. Arbitrary arrest and prosecution of protesters has been widespread, and the authorities have used excessive force and firearms to disperse protests against government policies and in land disputes with businesses.

    More egregiously, gross human rights violations against the Rohingya in Rakhine State continue. Since 2016, the authorities – both military and civilian – have denied access or imposed restrictions on access for humanitarian CSOs providing aid to Rakhine State, including shelter, food and protection, predominantly to Rohingya people.

    ‘Myanmar’s elections last year – the second election since the end of military rule in 2011 – highlighted the downward spiral of rights with the censorship of political parties, ongoing internet restrictions in Rakhine and Chin States and the systematic and deliberate disenfranchisement of voters from ethnic minorities. This must be reflected in recommendations made during the country’s UPR,’ said Ichal Supriadi, Secretary-General of the Asia Democracy Network

    As highlighted in our joint submission, CIVICUS, Free Expression Myanmar and Asia Democracy Network urge states to make recommendations to Myanmar which if implemented would guarantee the freedoms of association, peaceful assembly and expression, and the state’s duty to protect.

    Key recommendations that should be made include:

    • Provide HRDs, civil society members and journalists with a safe and secure environment in which they can carry out their work and unconditionally and immediately release all HRDs and activists detained for exercising their fundamental rights to the freedoms of association, peaceful assembly and expression and drop all charges against them.
    • Initiate a consolidated process of repeal or amendment of legalisation that unwarrantedly restricts the legitimate work of HRDs and civil society. Specifically, we call for the  repeal or review of all criminal defamation laws including section 66(d) of the 2013 Telecommunication Law, Section 9(a,b,g), Section 25 and 30 of the News Media Law, Section 46 of the Anti-Corruption Law, Section 34(d) of the Electronic Transaction Law, section 499 to 502 of Penal Code and repeal the Unlawful Associations Act 2014.
    • Lift the effective internet shutdown in Rakhine and Chin State and refrain from measures to prevent or disrupt access to or dissemination of information online intentionally, in violation of international human rights law.
    • Review and amend the News Media Law, the Printing and Publication Enterprise Law, and the Official Secrets Act to ensure that these laws are in line with international standards in the area of the freedom of expression.
    • Ensure that journalists and human rights monitors are provided unfettered access to all areas, particularly conflict-affected regions, and can work freely and without fear of reprisals for expressing critical opinions or covering topics that the government may deem sensitive.
    • Amend the Peaceful Assembly and Peaceful Procession Law in order to guarantee fully the right to the freedom of peaceful assembly.  
    • Guarantee to the Rohingya people and other minorities the full enjoyment of their civil and political rights and take material measures to address the serious crimes they have suffered

    The examination of Myanmar will take place during the 37th Session of the UPR. The UPR is a process, in operation since 2008, which examines the human rights records of all 193 UN Member States every four and a half years. The review is an interactive dialogue between the State delegation and members of the Council and addresses a broad range of human rights topics. Following the review, a report and recommendations are prepared, which is discussed and adopted at the following session of the Human Rights Council. 

    Civic space in Myanmar is rated as Repressed by the CIVICUS Monitor, see country page.


  • Myanmar: Under the name of democracy, the military rules

    Guest article by Thinzar Shunlei Yi, Advocacy Coordinator, Action Committee for Democracy Development


  • Myanmar: Urgent need to ensure accountability and justice for crimes against humanity

    Statement at the 48th Session of the UN Human Rights Council

    Interactive Dialogue on report of the Independent Investigative Mechanism for Myanmar

    Delivered by Lisa Majumdar

    Thank you, Madame President.

    We thank the Mechanism for their report. In a year which has seen a coup perpetrated by a military junta which has been implicated in crimes against humanity, the work carried out by this mandate to facilitate justice and accountability for past serious crimes and contribute to the deterrence of further atrocities has never been more critical.

    Indeed, the report concludes that the Myanmar junta has committed serious international crimes since seizing power on 1 February 2021, continuing a cycle of impunity, violence and deaths. Among the serious crimes noted has been the use of lethal force, including the use of live ammunition, against protesters in multiple locations.

    The Mechanism itself highlights that its work to collect, consolidate, preserve and analyse evidence is a contribution towards what must be a wider effort towards criminal accountability and justice. We call on Member States to take measures to ensure that such an accountability process takes place, including by referring Myanmar to the International Criminal Court or an independent tribunal. Failing to do so would be a grave abdication of responsibility to the victims of grave human rights violations, their families and communities, who have deserved accountability and justice for so long.

    The work of the mechanism would not be possible without participation from witnesses and victims of violations and civil society activists. The courage of those who do cannot be overstated. We therefore further call on Member States to facilitate the protection of witnesses and prevent any reprisals for cooperation with the Mechanism.

    We ask the Mechanism what steps it is taking to systematize engagement with civil society, and what steps it is taking to ensure sustainability in the event of budget restrictions?

    Civic space in Myanmar is rated as repressed by the CIVUCUS Monitor


  • Myanmar’s presence at the ASEAN Summit

    To: ASEAN Leaders
    H.E. Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Mu’izzaddin Waddaulah, Prime Minister of Brunei
    H.E Hun Sen, Prime Minister of Cambodia
    H.E Joko Widodo, President of Indonesia
    H.E Thongloun Sisoulith, Prime Minister of Laos
    H.E Dato’ Sri Ismail Sabri, Prime Minister of Malaysia
    H.E Rodrigo Roa Duterte, President of the Philippines
    H.E Lee Hsien Loong, Prime Minister of Singapore
    H.E Prayut Chan-o-cha, Prime Minister of Thailand
    H.E. Nguyen Xuan Phuc, Prime Minister of Vietnam

    CC: ASEAN Dialogue Partners
    H.E. Will Nankervis, Ambassador of Australia to ASEAN
    H.E. Diedrah Kelly, Ambassador of Canada to ASEAN
    H.E. Deng Xijun, Ambassador of China to ASEAN
    H.E. Igor Driesmans, Ambassador of the European Union to ASEAN
    H.E. Shri Jayant N. Khobragade, Ambassador of India to ASEAN
    H.E. Chiba Akira, Ambassador of Japan to ASEAN
    H.E. Lim Sungnam, Ambassador of Korea to ASEAN
    H.E. Pam Dunn, Ambassador of New Zealand to ASEAN
    H.E. Alexander Ivanov, Ambassador of Russia to ASEAN
    H.E. Melissa A. Brown, Chargé d’Affaires, a.i., U.S. Mission to ASEAN

    Your Excellencies,

    We, the undersigned organisations, write to you to urge you not to extend an invitation to Myanmar's military junta to the upcoming ASEAN Summit on 25 to 28 October because of the military’s blatant disregard for the Five Point Consensus agreed at the ASEAN Leaders' Meeting and continuing refusal to cooperate with ASEAN towards its implementation.

    We welcome the remarks made by the Foreign Ministers of Indonesia and Malaysia who questioned whether the junta should be invited to the Summit and urge the other Member States to come to the same conclusion.

    ASEAN's credibility depends on its ability to act decisively and bring an end to the Myanmar military junta’s relentless violence against the people of Myanmar. A lack of decisiveness and consequences for the military’s total contempt for the ASEAN’s leaders' agreement risks undermining the bloc’s legitimacy as a key regional player that can bring peace and stability.

    On 24 April 2021, the leaders of nine Member States and the Myanmar junta, represented by Senior General Min Aung Hlaing, agreed on a consensus that included the "immediate cessation of violence", constructive dialogue among all parties, the appointment of an ASEAN special envoy on Myanmar, humanitarian assistance to be delivered to the country, and for the Special Envoy and delegation to visit Myanmar to "meet with all parties concerned".

    Myanmar's junta has failed to respect this consensus on every single count.

    Since the Myanmar junta agreed to immediately cease the violence on 25th April till the end of September there have been 3,534 attacks either on civilians by the military or armed clashes that failed to protect civilians - that’s an 840% increase from the same period in 2020 (376). Thousands have been forced to flee their homes in search of safety. Violent acts amounting to crimes against humanity have been documented. It is clear that junta leader Min Aung Hlaing will not stop in his attempts to crush the democratic opposition to his rule.

    The military junta has also continually opposed any form of dialogue. Zaw Min Tun, the military's spokesman, recently said that dialogue between the ASEAN Special Envoy and the State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi, the National Unity Government and People's Defence Forces could not take place because they have been declared by the junta as "illegal organizations". The junta's stalling tactics also contributed to the delay in announcing Brunei's Foreign Affairs Minister II Erywan Yusof as ASEAN's special envoy to Myanmar.

    While we note aid commitments made to the AHA Centre and delivered through the Myanmar Red Cross, it is important to recall that the Myanmar military’s own actions are creating the current humanitarian crisis engulfing the country. According to the United Nations (UN), three million people require assistance. That number has tripled over the last eight months. In addition to that, there are now 20 million people living below the poverty line – nearly half the population. Yet, the military junta is weaponizing humanitarian aid; blocking the distribution of supplies, placing travel restrictions on humanitarian workers, hoarding and destroying aid, and attacking civilians, health and humanitarian aid workers.

    It is clear that Myanmar's military has displayed a flagrant lack of respect for ASEAN, and in fact since the coup, it appears to have used the bloc to try to gain legitimacy while at the same time increasing its brutal reprisals against the people.

    The UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has also warned that the opportunity to prevent the Myanmar junta from entrenching its rule could be narrowing. He has called for unified regional and international action to prevent the crisis from becoming a large-scale conflict and multi-faceted “catastrophe” in Southeast Asia and beyond.

    It is time for ASEAN to act decisively. This starts by denying the Myanmar junta the legitimacy it craves, and which has been rejected constantly by the people of Myanmar. The junta has refused to cooperate with regional and international neighbors, failed to stand by the commitments it has made, and exposed to the world not only its barbaric brutality but also an inability to deal with the deepening social and economic disaster currently taking place in the country, which includes the dereliction of public health services amid the global pandemic.

    Reiterating the remarks of Malaysia and Indonesia's foreign ministers, a firm united response by the other Member States is required. The Myanmar junta’s actions must not be accepted as “business as usual.” They are endangering the stability, prosperity, peace and health of the region.

    We therefore call on ASEAN leaders to deny the head of the Myanmar military junta a seat at the table and display to him that his callous disregard for the people, and his regional neighbors, does not come free of consequences.



    1. A Lin Thitsar
    2. A Lin Yaung Pan Daing
    3. A Naga Alin
    4. Action Committee for Democracy Development
    5. All Arakan Students’ and Youths’ Congress
    6. ALTSEAN Burma
    7. ASEAN Parliamentarians for Human Rights (APHR)
    8. Assistance Association for Political Prisoners
    9. Association of Human Rights Defenders and Promoters
    10. Athan – Freedom of Expression Activist Organization
    11. Backpack Health Workers Team
    12. Burma Medical Association
    13. Burmese Women’s Union
    14. CIVICUS: World Alliance for Citizen Participation
    15. Democracy for Ethnic Minorities Organization
    16. Democracy, Peace and Women's Organization – DPW
    17. Equality Myanmar
    18. FORUM-ASIA
    19. Freedom and Labor Action Group
    20. Future Light Center
    21. Future Thanlwin
    22. Generation Wave
    23. Human Rights Foundation of Monland
    24. Kachin Women’s Association Thailand
    25. Karen Environmental and Social Action Network (KESAN)
    26. Karen Human Rights Group
    27. Karen Peace Support Network
    28. Karen River Watch (KRW)
    29. Karen Women’s Organization
    30. Karenni Civil Society Network
    31. Karenni Human Rights Group
    32. Karenni National Women’s Organization
    33. Keng Tung Youth
    34. Let’s Help Each Other
    35. Metta Campaign Mandalay
    36. Myanmar Peace Bikers
    37. Myanmar People Alliance (Shan State)
    38. Network for Advocacy Action Tanintharyi Women Network
    39. Network for Human Rights Documentation – Burma (ND-Burma)
    40. Olive Organization
    41. Progressive Voice
    42. Save and Care Organization for Ethnic Women at Border Areas
    43. Save the Salween Network (SSN)
    44. Shan MATA
    45. Southern Youth Development Organization
    46. Spring Revolution Interfaith Network
    47. Synergy - Social Harmony Organization
    48. Tanintharyi MATA
    49. Thint Myat Lo Thu Myar
    50. Union of Karenni State Youth
    51. Women Advocacy Coalition – Myanmar
    52. Women’s League of Burma
         1. Burmese Women's Union (BWU)
         2. Kachin Women's Association-Thailand (KWAT)
         3. Karen Women's Organization (KWO)
         4. Karenni National Women's Organization (KNWO)
         5. Kayan Women's Organization (KyWO)
         6. Kuki Women's Human Rights Organization (KWHRO)
         7. Lahu Women's Organization (LWO)
         8. Pa-O Women's Union (PWU)
         9. Shan Women's Action Network (SWAN)
        10. Ta'ang Women's Organization (TWO)
        11. Tavoy Women's Union (TWU)
        12. Women for Justice (WJ)

    Civic space in Myanmar is rated as repressed by the CIVICUS Monitor


  • One Year after the Illegitimate Military Coup in the Republic of the Union of Myanmar

    Joint LGBTIQ+ Civil Society Statement

    We will never forget. It has been a year since the violent and illegitimate occupation of the democratically elected government by Myanmar's military junta on 1 February 2021. This was at a period when the people were at their most vulnerable, amid the COVID-19 pandemic. It was and still is a grave and utter betrayal of the public will and trust and a sheer disregard of democratic institutions and values.

    In the past 365 days, we have been witnessing accounts of serious human rights violations, including extrajudicial killings, criminalisation, arbitrary detentions, illegal arrests, torture, violent reprisals, and sexual and gender-based violence committed against pro-democracy activists and human rights defenders.

    This junta has fueled a humanitarian crisis that continues to impose fear, escalating violence, and destroy innocent lives throughout the country. Bombings of villages identified as centres of the opposition had resulted in killings of civilians and humanitarian workers and triggered gross internal displacement of communities. The crisis continues to escalate and has spilt across its borders as thousands have fled and sought refuge in neighbouring countries.

    We are appalled by the junta's disregard of socio-economic and health emergencies caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, such as curtailing supplies of oxygen and medicines, arresting doctors and medical personnel, and leaving thousands to die without medical help.

    We will always remember. The sheer tenacity, bravery and courage of LGBTIQ+ persons who were and are at the frontlines fighting for democracy, dignity, and freedom will forever be commemorated and ingrained in our collective memory. Despite repressive conditions, our LGBTIQ+ siblings have tirelessly campaigned both online and offline in pursuit of reclaiming democracy and urging for a global action to condemn military-led atrocities. We are deeply moved by various forms of creative resistance such as flash mobs, the waving of rainbow flags, the march of drag artists that had become symbols of peoples' solidarity and strength.

    This military junta and their supporters have blood on their hands. We deeply regret that many have been separated from their loved ones and have lost their lives amid the struggle. Data reported by Myanmar's National Unity Government (NUG) in June 2021 revealed that at least 12 LGBTIQ+ people were shot to death, while hundreds more were detained, arrested, and severely tortured based on their SOGIESC. Many are currently in hiding to escape retaliation.

    We stand firmly in solidarity.As long as Myanmar is unfree, democracy in Southeast Asia will never move forward. We commit our continuous support for efforts to reclaim and fortify human rights, freedoms, peace and democracy in Myanmar. Human rights and freedoms, particularly of LGBTIQ+ peoples, can flourish only if the people are recognised and respected as the rightful sovereign of the country. As such, we strongly deplore the military junta as an illegitimate force that is unworthy of any recognition.

    We urge the UN to step up and impose necessary sanctions and actions against the junta. Min Aung Hlaing, the rest of the military leadership, their political allies, and their families should be made accountable for the atrocities they committed.

    We urge all governments, the UN, and the entire international community to recognise Myanmar's National Unity Government (NUG) immediately and assure urgent unified response to provide unified assistance for putting Myanmar back on the path to democracy, the restoration of fundamental freedoms such as on information and expression, and guarantee the prevalence of peace and prosperity. While Myanmar is in crisis, we urge the international community to open up its borders, facilitate safe passage, and create domestic conditions to guarantee safety and dignity for all Myanmar persons seeking refuge.

    We urge ASEAN, especially the government of Cambodia in its capacity as the Chair of the regional bloc, to fully implement its Five-Point Consensus on Myanmar: an immediate cessation of violence, constructive dialogue with all stakeholders especially marginalised and ethnic groups who are excluded from political processes, provision of humanitarian assistance, and the appointment and unhindered visits of an ASEAN Special Envoy to facilitate constructive dialogues with all stakeholders.

    To our Myanmar LGBTIQ+ queerblings both in the country and abroad, you are not alone in this struggle. We are with you until and after democracy is fully regained in your beloved country.


    In solidarity: List of Organizational Signatories

    Regional Organisations

    APCOM Foundation

    ASEAN SOGIE Caucus

    Asia Indigenous Peoples Pact

    Asia Pacific Transgender Network (APTN)

    Equal Asia Foundation

    ILGA Asia

    Initiatives for International Dialogue

    International Women's Rights Action Watch Asia Pacific (IWRAW AP)

    Intersex Asia

    Pan Africa ILGA



    Youth Voices Count


    CamASEAN Youth's Future (CamASEAN)


    Arus Pelangi

    Cangkang Queer

    CIVICUS: World Alliance for Citizen Participation


    Komunitas Sehati Makassar

    GAYa Nusantara Foundation


    JEJAKA Malaysia

    Justice for Sisters

    People Like Us Support Ourselves (PLUsos)

    People Like Us Hang Out! (PLUHO)



    Blue Diamond Society


    Filipino LGBT Europe


    National Forum of Women With Disabilities (NFWWD)


    Asexual Support Philippines

    Bisdak Pride

    Camp Queer

    Care for Queers

    Galang Philippines

    Iloilo Pride Team

    Intersex Philippines

    Kapederasyon LGBT Organization

    LakanBini Advocates Pilipinas

    Lakapati Laguna

    LGBT Bus

    LGBTQ Plus Partylist

    LGBTS Christian Churches

    Metro Manila Pride

    Mindanao Pride

    MUJER-LGBT Organization, Inc.

    Pioneer Filipino Transgender Men Movement (PFTM)

    Side B Philippines

    Society of Trans Women of the Philippines (STRAP)

    Transmasculine Philippines

    UPLB Babaylan

    Youth for Change

    Youth for YOUth Organization


    My Queer Story SG


    Free Gender TH

    Manushya Foundation

    Mokeluang Rimnam

    Sangsan Anakot Yawachon Development Project

    School of Feminist, Thailand

    Sexuality and Gender Acceptance (SAGA) Thailand


    The LinQ

    V-Day Thailand

    Timor Leste

    ARCOIRIS Timor Leste


    This statement was also signed by 4 organisations from Myanmar who opted not to be identified due to security reasons.

    Individual Signatories

    50 Individual Activists from the following countries: Australia, Cambodia, France, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, Nepal, Netherlands, Pakistan, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Timor Leste, Turkey, and United Kingdom.





  • Open call to all international actors: Do more to stop internet shutdowns shrouding torchings and killings in Myanmar

    Content note: this statement contains references to violence, murder, and potential war crimes.


  • Open Letter to ASEAN Defence Ministers

    H.E. General Tea Banh, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of National Defence, Cambodia 

    His Majesty Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Mu'izzaddin Waddaulahibni Al-Marhum, Minister of Defense, Brunei Darussalam

    H.E. Prabowo Subianto, Minister of Defence, Indoensia

    H.E. General Chansamone Chanyalath, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of National Defence, Lao PDR

    The Honourable Dato' Seri Hishammuddin bin Tun Hussein, Senior Minister of Defence, Malaysia

    H.E. Delfin N. Lorenzana, Secretary of National Defense, Philippines

    H.E. Dr Ng Eng Hen, Minister for Defence, Singapore

    H.E. General Prayut Chan-o-cha, Prime Minister and Minister of Defence, Thailand

    H.E. General Phan Van Giang, Minister of National Defence, Viet Nam


    June 15 2022

    Re: Myanmar junta participation in ADMM

    Your Excellencies,

    We, the undersigned 677 Myanmar, regional and international civil society organizations, appeal to you not to extend an invitation to the Myanmar military junta's Minister of Defence at the upcoming ASEAN Defence Ministers' Meeting (ADMM). 

    The Myanmar military junta's acts meet the definition of terror under international and national law and are responsible for ongoing violations of international human rights and humanitarian law following the military's illegal coup attempt. Since the military's illicit attempt coup, almost 700,000 people have been forcibly displaced as the junta waged a terror campaign against the Myanmar people. In the face of mass public resistance, the junta has murdered more than 1,900 people, arbitrarily arrested over 14,000 more, committed widespread torture, indiscriminate airstrikes and shelling, burnt villages and looted public property. 

    In the upcoming 16th ADMM, scheduled for June 22, we understand that the Junta defence minister General Mya Tun Oo will be representing Myanmar. General Mya Tun Oo plays a leading role in managing the military, responsible for committing ongoing atrocity crimes with total impunity. Mya Tun Oo's direct responsibility for international law violations has been recognized by the USA, U.K., EU, Canada and New Zealand, which sanctioned him. In its designation, the U.K. stated that Mya Tun Oo has "command responsibility for these violations and can therefore be held responsible for these actions." Mya Tun Oo is also a member of the State Administration Council (SAC). The E.U. recognized that "as a member of the SAC, General Mya Tun Oo has been directly involved in and responsible for decision making concerning state functions and is therefore responsible for undermining democracy and the rule of law". Mya Tun Oo should be held accountable for his role in the military's attempted coup and the junta's atrocity crimes and not rewarded through participation in ADMM.

    We welcome ASEAN's exclusion of Senior General Min Aung Hlaing from the 2021 ASEAN Summit and the exclusion of the junta foreign minister Wunna Maung Lwin from the 2022 Foreign Ministers' Retreat. However, we note with concern that ADMM has invited the junta to participate in meetings, including at the ministerial level, since its illegal coup attempt, which is inconsistent with decisions made by ASEAN not to invite General Min Aung Hlaing and Wunna Maung Lwin. ADMM's engagement with the junta, which has included military exercises, may likely amount to aiding and abetting the junta's war crimes and crimes against humanity.  

    It is imperative that ASEAN does not award legitimacy to the Myanmar military junta, upholds its charter and respects international human rights and humanitarian law by excluding the junta from ADMM. In allowing the junta to participate in ADMM, ASEAN is further risking complicity in the junta's atrocity crimes by providing support and legitimacy to the military and encouraging a military that is waging a nationwide campaign of terror. 

    As ASEAN defence ministers, we appeal to you to disinvite Mya Tun Oo from the 16th ADMM and all future meetings. Engage with the National Unity Government as the legitimate government of Myanmar, and work to resolve the crisis in Myanmar. 

    For any further inquiries, please contact:

    Khin Ohmar, Progressive Voice,  

    Debbie Stothard, ALTSEAN-Burma,  

    Salai Za Uk Ling, Chin Human Rights Organization,  


    List of Signatories

    The list of signatories below includes 299 Myanmar, regional and international organizations and 378 Myanmar civil society organizations that have chosen not to disclose their names.

    Signed by: 

    1. "Do" farmer Organization

    2. 8888 Generation (New Zealand)

    3. 8888 New Generation (Mohnyin)

    4. Action Against Myanmar Military Coup (Sydney)

    5. Action Committee for Democracy Development

    6. Active Youths (Kalaymyo)

    7. Ah Nah podcast- Conversation with Myanmar

    8. Ah. La. Ka (12) Hta Khwe, Primary Education Student Union

    9. All Arakan Students and Youths' Congress

    10. All Burma Democratic Face in New Zealand

    11. All Burma Student Democratic Front - Australia Branch

    12. All Religions Strike Column

    13. All Young Burmese League (AYBL)

    14. Alliance for Free Burma Solidarity

    15. Alternative Solutions for Rural Communities (ASORCOM)

    16. ALTSEAN-Burma

    17. Anti Dictatorship in Burma DC Metropolitan Area

    18. Anti-Myanmar Dictatorship Movement

    19. Anti-Myanmar Military Dictatorship Network (AMMDN)

    20. Arakan CSO Network

    21. Arakan Humanitarian Coordination Team- AHCT

    22. ASEAN Parliamentarians for Human Rights (APHR)

    23. Asia Justice and Rights (AJAR)

    24. Asia Pacific Solidarity Coalition

    25. Asian Cultural Forum on Development (ACFOD) Philippines

    26. Asian Cultural Forum on Development Foundation (ACFOD) Thailand

    27. Asian Dignity Initiative

    28. Asian Forum for Human Rights and Development

    29. Association for Advancement of Freedom of Religion or Belief in Vietnam (AAFORB-VN)

    30. Association of Human Rights Defenders and Promoters

    31. Athan - Freedom of Expression Activist Organization

    32. Auckland Kachin Community N.Z.

    33. Auckland Zomi Community

    34. Aung Myay Thar Zan Education Schools Strike Column

    35. Aung Pin Lae Main Strike Column

    36. Australia Burma Friendship Association, Northern Territory

    37. Australia Karen Organization WA Inc.

    38. Australia Myanmar Doctors, Nurses and Friends

    39. Australia Myanmar Youth Alliance (AMYA)

    40. Australian Burmese Muslim Organisation

    41. Australian Chin Community (Eastern Melbourne Inc)

    42. Australian Karen Organisation (AKO)

    43. Australian Karen Organisation Inc

    44. Back Pack Health Workers Team

    45. Bamar Community Tasmania

    46. BCC (စစ်ကိုင်း)

    47. Blood Money Campaign

    48. Buddhist Solidarity Association

    49. Burma Action Ireland

    50. Burma Campaign U.K. 

    51. Burma Human Rights Network

    52. Burma Lawyers' Council (BLC)

    53. Burma Medical Association

    54. Burma Soumalaiset (Finland)

    55. Burmese Community - South Australia

    56. Burmese Community Development Collaboration (BCDC)

    57. Burmese Community Group (Manawatu, N.Z.)

    58. Burmese Community Support Group (BCSG)

    59. Burmese Friendship Association

    60. Burmese Medical Association Australia (BMAA)

    61. Burmese Rohingya Organisation U.K. 

    62. Burmese Rohingya Welfare Organisation New Zealand

    63. Burmese Women's Union

    64. Cambodian Americans and Friends for Democracy and Human Rights Advocate

    65. Campaign for a New Myanmar

    66. Canberra Karen Association

    67. CDM Support Team Mandalay (CSTM)

    68. Chan Mya Thar Si Township People Strike Column

    69. Chin Community - South Australia

    70. Chin Community of Auckland

    71. Chin Community of Western Australia Inc.

    72. Chin Community Tasmania

    73. Chin Human Rights Organization

    74. Chin MATA Working Group

    75. Chin Resources Center

    76. Chin Youth Organization (Matupi)

    77. Citizen of Burma Award - New Zealand

    78. CIVICUS: World Alliance for Citizen Participation

    79. Committee Representing Mandalay Region Hluttaw

    80. Cooperative University Student Strike Column 

    81. CRPH & NUG Supporters Ireland

    82. CRPH Funding Ireland

    83. CRPH Support Group, Norway

    84. CRPH, NUG Support Team Germany - Deutschland

    85. CRPH/NUG support group Australia

    86. Dawei Development Association

    87. Dawei Probono Lawyer Network

    88. Democracy for Myanmar - Working Group (N.Z.)

    89. Democracy, Peace and Women's Organization

    90. Democratic Youth Council

    91. Doh Atu - Ensemble pour le Myanmar

    92. Dragon Dawn

    93. Education and health care for Myanmar-Thailand Association

    94. Education Family (Anti - Fascists Education Strike Columns Coordination Committee) 

    95. Educational Initiatives Myanmar

    96. Equality Myanmar

    97. Ethnic Youth General Strike Committee

    98. Falam Community - South Australia

    99. Federal Myanmar Benevolence Group (N.Z.)

    100. Foundation of Khmer Samaki

    101. Free Burma Campaign (South Africa)

    102. Free Expression Myanmar (FEM)

    103. Free Rohingya Coalition

    104. Future Light Center

    105. Future Thanlwin

    106. General Strike Committee of Nationalities - GSCN

    107. Generation Wave

    108. Generations (မျိုးဆက်)

    109. GenY For Revolution Japan

    110. German Solidarity with Myanmar Democracy e.V.

    111. Global Myanmar Spring Revolution 

    112. Global Myanmar Spring Revolution - Japan

    113. Global Myanmar Spring Revolution - Korea

    114. Golden Heart Organization

    115. Grass-root People

    116. Human Rights Educators' Network

    117. Human Rights Foundation of Monland

    118. In Defense of Human Rights and Dignity Movement (iDEFEND) Philippines

    119. India For Myanmar

    120. Industrial Training Centre (ITC) Family Sydney

    121. Info Birmanie

    122. Initiatives for International Dialogue

    123. Institute for Asian Democracy

    124. Inter Pares

    125. Interfaith Youth Coalition on Aids in Myanmar (IYCA-Myanmar)

    126. International Campaign for the Rohingya

    127. International Karen Organisation

    128. JASS Southeast Asia

    129. Joint Action Committee for Democracy in Burma (JACDB)

    130. Justice 4 Myanmar - Hope & Development

    131. Justice Movement for Community-Innlay

    132. Justice For Myanmar

    133. Kachin Association Australia

    134. Kachin Association of Australia WA Inc.

    135. Kachin Human Rights Watch

    136. Kachin State Women Network

    137. Kachin Women's Association Thailand

    138. Kachin Women's Union

    139. Kadu Youth Development Association (KYDA)

    140. Kalyarna Metta Association (Khin U)

    141. Kanbung Youth (Matupi)

    142. Kanpetlet Land Development Organization

    143. Karen Community - South Australia

    144. Karen Human Rights Group

    145. Karen Peace Support Network

    146. Karen Swedish Community (KSC)

    147. Karen Women's Organization

    148. Karenni Community of Western Australia Inc.

    149. Karenni Federation of Australia

    150. Karenni Human Rights Group

    151. Karenni Society New Zealand

    152. Kayan Internally Displacement Supervising Committee (KIDSC)

    153. Kayan Women’s Organization

    154. Kayin Community Tasmania

    155. Keng Tung Youth

    156. Khanthar Farmers Network

    157. Khumzup Local Development Committee

    158. Kurawal Foundation

    159. Kyauktada Strike Committee


    161. LGBTIQ Strike of Mandalay

    162. Maha Aung Myay Township People Collective Strike Column

    163. Mandalar University Student Strike  Column 

    164. Mandalay Alliance Strike Collective Column 

    165. Mandalay Based People Strike Column 

    166. Mandalay Civil Society Organizations 

    167. Mandalay Engineer Group

    168. Mandalay Engineer United Force

    169. Mandalay University Student Alumni Union 

    170. Mandalay Wholesale Strike Column

    171. Mandalay Youth Association

    172. Mandalay Youth Strike Column

    173. MATA Sagaing Region

    174. Matu Chin Community - South Australia

    175. Matu Forum Committee

    176. Matu Women Association

    177. Medical Family – Mandalay

    178. Metta Campaign Mandalay

    179. MIIT Student Strike Column

    180. MilkTeaAlliance Calendar

    181. MilkTeaAlliance Galleries

    182. Mindanao Peacebuilding Institute Foundation, Inc. (MPI)

    183. Mindat Chin Community NSW

    184. Mindat Community - South Australia

    185. Mindat Emergency Response Team (MERT)

    186. Mizo Community - South Australia

    187. Mon Families Group

    188. Mon National Council (MNC)

    189. Mung Chying Rawt Jat (MRJ) 

    190. Muslim Youth Network

    191. Muslim Youth Union 

    192. Mya Taung Strike Column

    193. Myanmar Accountability Project

    194. Myanmar Action Group Denmark

    195. Myanmar Alliance for Transparency and Accountability 

    196. Myanmar Buddhist Community of South Australia

    197. Myanmar Community Coffs Harbour (MCC)

    198. Myanmar Cultural Research Society (MCRS)

    199. Myanmar Democracy and Peace Committee (Australia)

    200. Myanmar Democratic Movement (MDM)

    201. Myanmar Diaspora Group Finland

    202. Myanmar Engineering Association of Australia (MEAA)

    203. Myanmar Engineers - New Zealand

    204. Myanmar Gonye (New Zealand)

    205. Myanmar People Alliance (Shan State)

    206. Myanmar People from Ireland

    207. Myanmar People Residing in Canberra

    208. Myanmar Professionals Association Australia (MPAA)

    209. Myanmar Railway, Region (3) CDM Strike Column

    210. Myanmar Students' Association Australia (MSAA)

    211. Myanmar Students' Union in New Zealand

    212. Netherlands Myanmar Solidarity Platform

    213. Network for Advocacy Action

    214. Network for Human Rights Documentation Burma (ND-Burma)

    215. New Zealand Doctors for NUG

    216. New Zealand Karen Association

    217. New Zealand Zo Community Inc.

    218. NLD Solidarity Association (Australia)

    219. No 7 State High School Alumni Strike Column 

    220. No Business With Genocide

    221. Northern Spectrum Youth Association

    222. NSW Karenni (Kayah) Communities

    223. OCTOPUS (Youth Organization)

    224. Open Development Foundation

    225. Overseas Mon Association, New Zealand

    226. Pan Pa Wash People Strike Column

    227. Patriotic War Vetrans of Burma (PWVB)

    228. Peace and Culture Foundation

    229. People's Hope Spring Revolution

    230. Phayagye Peace Strike Column

    231. Private Pre-school Teachers Association 

    232. Progressive Voice

    233. Pusat Komas 

    234. Pyi Gyi Ta Gon Strike 

    235. Pyithu Gonye (New Zealand)

    236. Queensland Kachin Community (QKC)

    237. Queensland Myanmar Youth Collective (QMYC

    238. Queensland Rohingya Community

    239. Rohingya Action Ireland

    240. Rvwang Community Association New Zealand

    241. Sangha Samaga Strike Column

    242. Save and Care Organization for Women at Border Areas


    244. Save Myanmar Fundraising Group (New Zealand)

    245. Sein Pan Strike Column

    246. Shan Community (New Zealand)

    247. Shan MATA

    248. Shan Women Development Network

    249. Shape-Sea

    250. Shwe Youth Democratic Alliance (SYDA)

    251. Shwechinthae Farmers Network

    252. Sisters 2 Sisters

    253. Sitt Nyein Pann Foundation

    254. Social Garden 

    255. Southeast Asia Freedom of Expression Network (SAFEnet)

    256. Southern Youth Development Organization

    257. Strike Column of Representatives of Arbitrarily Arrested People

    258. Strike Column of Teachers from Universities and Degree Colleges of Mandalay 

    259. Students & Youth Congress of Burma (SYCB)

    260. Support for Myanmar

    261. Swedish Burma Committee

    262. Swedish Foundation for Human Rights

    263. Sydney Friends for Myanmar Unity

    264. Ta'ang Women's Organization

    265. Taekwando Sport Association 

    266. Tanintharyi MATA

    267. Tanintharyi Nationalities Congress

    268. Tanintharyi People's Voice

    269. Tanintharyi Women's Network

    270. Thai Action Committee for Democracy in Burma (TACDB)

    271. Thapaynyo News Letter

    272. The Commission for the Disappeared and Victims of Violence (KontraS)

    273. The Institution of Professional Engineers Myanmar (IPEM)

    274. Together Thanlyin

    275. Twitter Team for Revolution

    276. U.S. Campaign for Burma

    277. Uakthon Local Social Development Organization

    278. United Myanmar Community of South Australia  

    279. Victorian Burmese Care Community (VBCC)

    280. Victorian Myanmar Youth (VMY)

    281. Way Way Nay

    282. We Pledge CDM (Australia)

    283. Western Australia Myanmar Community (WAMC)

    284. Western Australia Myanmar Democratic Network (WAMDN)

    285. Winemaw Civil Society Network

    286. Winemaw Lisu Development Association

    287. Women Activists Myanmar (WAM)

    288. Women Advocacy Coalition-Myanmar

    289. Women's League of Burma

    290. Women's Peace Network

    291. Zo Community - South Australia

    292. Zomi Association Australia Inc.

    293. Zomi Community - South Australia

    294. Zomi Community Queensland

    295. ခုနစ်စင်ကြယ်အဖွဲ့

    296. ဒို့မြေကွန်ရက် (LIOH)

    297. ဒေါင်းစစ်သည်

    298. ပွင့်ဖြူလယ်ယာမြေကွန်ရက်

    299. ပဲခူး MATA


  • Open Letter to UN member states: Urgent action needed on Myanmar

    To:Member and Observer states of the UN Human Rights Council
    Subject:Urgent action needed on Myanmar

    Dear Excellencies

    We write to you regarding the deeply concerning situation in Myanmar, particularly in Rakhine State. Reports estimate that more than 270,000 Rohingyas have fled to Bangladesh following the outbreak of violence two weeks ago, and this figure is expected to significantly increase. Thousands of non-Muslim residents have also been internally displaced. Reports have also emerged of entire villages being burnt and hundreds killed. On 31 August, three UN Special Rapporteurs expressed concern citing credible reports of death to villagers resulting from security force attacks, and the use of helicopters and rocket propelled grenades on the population. On 5 September, speaking to reporters, the UN Secretary General warned of a risk of ethnic cleansing. Access to northern Rakhine State has been denied to independent observers and humanitarian aid agencies while media has been tightly controlled – leaving the territory under a virtual information blackout and exacerbating a humanitarian catastrophe. We call on the UN Human Rights Council to urgently act – by passing a resolution on Myanmar calling for an end to abuses against the population and ensuring immediate humanitarian access.

    The UN Human Rights Council established a Fact-Finding Mission on Myanmar (FFM) at its 34th session in March this year, following reports of alarming human rights violations in Rakhine State beginning in October last year. In February 2017, a report by the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) and statements by the UN Special Rapporteur on Myanmar referred to reports of egregious violations targeting the Rohingya minority at the end of 2016 and the beginning of 2017 – including the deliberate killing of children, the burning of homes with people inside them, rape, and sexual violence. The OHCHR report concluded that reports indicate the very likely commission of crimes against humanity. Military operations conducted during this period bear a close semblance to current operations which involve mass exodus of Rohingya fleeing violence, multiple reports of civilian deaths, and egregious violations under an information blackout, without independent access to observers or journalists.

    The current bout of violence began following reports of coordinated attacks on police posts by the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA), an armed militant organisation, on 25 August – after which the Myanmar military launched a massive response. Weeks before the current outbreak of violence, on 11 August, the UN Special Rapporteur on Myanmar expressed concern on increasing military build-up in Rakhine State. The violence broke out immediately following the release of a report by an international commission headed by the former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan, which called for reforms to address wide-ranging forms of discrimination faced by the Rohingya community. On 29 August, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights cautioned all sides on fuelling further violence and called on the government leadership to condemn the inflammatory rhetoric and incitement to hatred that is proliferating. He further expressed concerns on unsupported government allegations that international aid organizations were complicit in or supporting attacks, as this places aid workers in danger and may make it impossible for them to deliver essential aid.

    Myanmar has so far failed to restore full humanitarian access following the preceding period of violence that began in October 2016. The Myanmar government has hitherto been reluctant to cooperate with the FFM and has denied allegations relating to violations of international human rights law and humanitarian law. The government has also refused to reform discriminatory laws that affect the Rohingya community and deny them full citizenship rights, leaving the community in a vulnerable situation.

    It is imperative for the UN Human Rights Council to urgently address the escalating situation in Myanmar through a resolution at the upcoming 36th session of the UN Human Rights Council. The establishment of the FFM was considerably delayed for technical reasons. The lack of access to the country by independent investigators as well as the current outbreak of violence have further increased the magnitude of the body's work ahead of its March 2018 reporting deadline. In this context, the Council should pass a resolution on Myanmar which:

    1. Extends the time available for the FFM beyond March;
    2. Makes provision for the FFM to provide a preliminary report to the UN General Assembly in September 2017 and a final report to the UN Human Rights Council and the General Assembly in 2018;
    3. Calls on Myanmar to urgently grant full access to the FFM;
    4. Emphasises the responsibility of Myanmar to prevent and seek accountability for any retaliation or reprisal against individuals for engaging with the FFM;
    5. Expresses grave concern over recent allegations of violations and calls for an immediate end to attacks on the civilian population; and
    6. Urges full access for humanitarian aid and independent observers.

    Please accept the assurance of our highest consideration.

    1. ALTSEAN-Burma (Alternative ASEAN Network on Burma)
    2. ASEAN Parliamentarians for Human Rights (APHR)
    3. Asian Forum for Human Rights and Development (FORUM-ASIA)
    4. Asian Legal Resource Center (ALRC)
    5. Awaz Foundation Pakistan - Centre for Development Services (AwazCDS-Pakistan)
    6. Burma Campaign UK
    7. Bytes for All, Pakistan (B4A)
    8. Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies
    9. Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria
    10. Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW)
    11. CIVICUS: World Alliance for Citizen Participation
    12. Civil Rights Defenders
    13. Commission for the Disappeared and Victims of Violence (kontraS)
    14. Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative
    15. Conectas Direitos Humanos
    16. Defend Defenders (the East and Horn of Africa Human Rights Defenders Project)
    17. Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights
    18. FIDH - International Federation for Human Rights
    19. Global Centre for the Responsibility to Protect
    20. Human Rights Watch
    21. Human Rights Working Group (HRWG)
    22. INFORM Human Rights Documentation Centre
    23. Informal Sector Service Center (INSEC)
    24. International Service for Human Rights (ISHR)
    25. Judicial System Monitoring Program (JSMP)
    26. Korean House for International Solidarity (KHIS)
    27. Madaripur Legal Aid Association
    28. National Commission for Justice and Peace, Pakistan
    29. Odhikar
    30. Partnership for Justice
    31. People's Empowerment Foundation, Thailand
    32. People's Vigilance Committee on Human Rights (PVCHR)
    33. PILIPINA Legal Resources Center (PLRC)
    34. Pusat KOMAS
    35. Refugee and Migratory Movements Research Unit
    36. Safeguard Defenders
    37. South India Cell for Human Rights Education and Monitoring (SICHREM)
    38. Suara Rakyat Malaysia (SUARAM)
    39. Think Centre
    40. Unitarian Universalist Service Committee


  • Open letter: The UN Human Rights Council must take concrete steps to actualise justice and bolster support for the people of Myanmar’s will for federal democracy and human rights

    In this joint letter, CIVICUS and several civil society organisations call for the adoption of a robust resolution which reflects Myanmar people’s democratic will, seeks to advance accountability, and supports effective locally-led humanitarian assistance. 

    To Member and Observer States of the UN Human Rights Council
    Cc: The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights

    Your Excellencies,

    We, the undersigned 160 Myanmar, regional and international civil society organisations (CSOs), call for the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) to take concrete actions to advance accountability through all possible avenues, protect human rights of the Myanmar people, and strongly support their will for federal democracy.

    We welcome the UNHRC resolution of 1 April 2022 which acknowledged the human rights situation in Myanmar as one of the Council's important agenda. We however recognise that the resolution failed to adequately reflect or address the severity of the human rights and humanitarian crisis in Myanmar. The resolution also fell short in advancing justice and ending rampant impunity enjoyed by the Myanmar military for decades. During the 52nd Regular Session of the UNHRC, we call for the adoption of a meaningful and robust resolution which reflects the Myanmar people’s desire for federal democracy, pursues all available mechanisms and avenues for justice and accountability, and bolsters effective locally-led frontline humanitarian

    While monitoring and reporting mandates on Myanmar by the UNHRC remain strong and robust, there is an urgent need for the Council to strengthen its efforts for justice and accountability. The creation of the Independent Investigative Mechanism for Myanmar (IIMM) to collect evidence of the most serious international crimes in Myanmar and prepare files for criminal prosecution — following the findings of the Independent International Fact-Finding Mission on Myanmar — was a substantial step in the right direction. However, the IIMM is not mandated to initiate prosecution, rendering justice elusive for victims of the most serious international crimes committed in Myanmar prior to its establishment in 2018, including the
    Rohingya genocide. Currently, there is no international court that has an investigation into all crimes committed in Myanmar.

    Read the full letter 


  • Outcomes & Reflections from 39th Session of UN Human Rights Council

    This session, the Council adopted landmark resolutions on several country situations, further enhancing its contribution to the protection of human rights. 

    On Myanmar, we welcome the creation of the independent investigative mechanism, which is an important step towards accountability for the horrific crimes committed in Myanmar, as elaborated in the Fact Finding Mission’s report to this session. The overwhelming support for the resolution, notwithstanding China’s shameful blocking of consensus, was a clear message to victims and survivors that the international community stands with them in their fight for justice. 

    On Yemen, the Council demonstrated that principled action is possible, and has sent a strong message to victims of human rights violations in Yemen that accountability is a priority for the international community, by voting in favor of renewing the mandate of the Group of Eminent Experts to continue international investigations into violations committed by all parties to the conflict. 

    Furthermore, we welcome the leadership by a group of States on the landmark resolution on Venezuela, and consider it as an important step for the Council applying objective criteria to address country situations that warrant its attention. The resolution, adopted with support from all regions, sends a strong message of support to the Venezuelan people. By opening up a space for dialogue at the Council, the resolution brings scrutiny to the tragic human rights and humanitarian crisis unfolding in the country.  

    While we welcome the renewal of the mandate of the Commission of Inquiry (CoI) on Burundi, to continue its critical investigation and work towards accountability, we regret, however, that the Council failed to respond more strongly to Burundi's record of non-cooperation and attacks against the UN human rights system. 

    We also welcome the Council’s adoption of the resolution on Syria, which among other things condemns all violations and abuses of international human rights law and all violations of international humanitarian law committed by all parties to the conflict.

    However, on other country situations including China, Sudan, Cambodia and the Philippines, the Council failed to take appropriate action. 

    On Sudan, we are deeply concerned about the weak resolution that envisions an end to the Independent Expert’s mandate once an OHCHR office is set up; a "deal" Sudan has already indicated it does not feel bound by, and which is an abdication of the Council’s responsibility to human rights victims in Sudan while grave violations are ongoing. At a minimum, States should ensure the planned country office monitors and publicly reports on the human rights situation across Sudan, and that the High Commissioner is mandated to report to the Council on the Office’s findings.  

    We also regret the lack of concerted Council action on the Philippines, in spite of the need to establish independent international and national investigations into extrajudicial killings in the government's 'war on drugs', and to monitor and respond to the government's moves toward authoritarianism. 

    In addition, we regret the Council’s weak response to the deepening human rights and the rule of law crisis in Cambodia, failing to change its approach even when faced with clear findings by the Special Rapporteur demonstrating that the exclusive focus on technical assistance and capacity building in the country, is failing.

    We share the concerns that many raised during the session, including the High Commissioner, about China’s human rights record, specifically noting serious violations of the rights of Uyghurs and other predominantly Muslim minorities in Xinjiang province. It is regrettable that States did not make a concrete and collective call for action by China to cease the internment of estimates ranging up to 1 million individuals from these communities. 

    On thematic resolutions, we welcome the adoption of the resolution on equal participation in political and public affairs but would have preferred a stronger endorsement and implementation of the guidelines.

    The resolution on safety of journalists, adopted by consensus, sets out a clear roadmap of practical actions to end impunity for attacks. Journalism is not a crime - yet too many States in this room simply imprison those that criticize them. This must end, starting with the implementation of this resolution. 

    We welcome the adoption by consensus of the resolution on preventable maternal mortality and morbidity and human rights in humanitarian settings. Women and girls affected by conflict have been denied accountability for too long. The implementation of this resolution will ensure that their rights, including their sexual and reproductive health and rights, are respected, protected and fulfilled. 

    Finally, the Council’s first interactive dialogue on acts of reprisals and intimidation was an important step to ensure accountability for this shameful practice, and we urge more States to have the courage and conviction to stand up for human rights defenders and call out countries that attack and intimidate them.

    The African Centre for Democracy and Human Rights Studies (ACDHRS)
    Amnesty International 
    Article 19
    Center for Reproductive Rights
    Forum Asia 
    Human Rights House Foundation (HRHF)
    Human Rights Watch 
    International Commission of Jurists
    International Service for Human Rights (ISHR)