Myanmar

 

  • MYANMAR: ‘The government needs to open the doors’

    CIVICUS speaks with Nay Lin Tun, a doctor and civil society humanitarian worker in Myanmar, about conflict in Rakhine State, the difficulties faced by minorities in the region, and civil society’s work to provide help.

    nay lin tun

    Can you tell us about your background and the work you’re doing in Rakhine State?

    I’m a doctor working in public health, particularly focusing on primary healthcare, reproductive and women’s health, HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis. I was part of a group who founded a civil society organisation, the Center for Social Integrity, which supports communities in conflict-affected areas, including Rakhine State. We’re trying to support people based on their needs, including their needs to food, shelter and livelihoods. Right now in Rakhine State we are providing basic humanitarian support, education, healthcare, livelihoods and water and sanitation services for people in the conflict areas. Because of my experience I focus on providing healthcare and humanitarian support.

    At the moment there is fighting in the north and east of Rakhine State between the Myanmar Army and the insurgent Arakan Army. According to the United Nations there are around 35,000 newly displaced people because of the fighting in 2019, living in camps in Rakhine State. We are supporting these communities and other conflict-affected communities in the area.

    What are some of the challenges minority groups face in Rakhine State?

    In my country there are 135 recognised ethnic groups. The majority ethnic group are the Bamar, who are the main group across most of Myanmar. At the other end of the spectrum are lots of small groups, often in the regions close to borders, who are becoming less and less recognised by the government. Different groups face different challenges. In Rakhine State there are religious, ethnic and social minorities, and they all face human rights challenges.

    The Rohingya community, who are Muslims, have been subjected to a lot of abuses. They are denied citizenship and treated as stateless persons. They are not recognised as an ethnic group by the 1982 Citizenship Law. They are called Bengalis by many in the dominant population groups, because they see them as belonging to Bangladesh. They have their movement restricted and struggle to access education and healthcare.

    Local hospitals are inadequate, so if there is a medical emergency people have to travel to a major city. Before 2017 they could go to the Bangladesh side of the border on a short-term pass and get hospital treatment, but now the border area is closed and they cannot do this. But because they don’t have citizenship and their movement is restricted, it is also hard to go to the big hospitals in Sitwe, the main city in Rakhine State. People can pay for this with their lives. If there is an emergency, the only way people can negotiate to get treatment is to pay a bribe. This happened to someone I was trying to treat for a tumour.

    In another case, a pregnant woman had severe labour pains in the middle of the night. They tried to take her to hospital, but there is a curfew, introduced in 2017 and in force ever since. No one can go out between 11pm and 5am. There are many police checkpoints in the area, and while other villages were okay, in this case they would not allow this pregnant woman to pass. She had to go home. By the time she could go to hospital the next day, the child was already dead. Luckily, the mother survived.

    Rohingya people are also denied education. The highest education most people can get is at high school. They cannot join a university as a full-time student. They can only do distance learning for a few subjects. They also struggle to find work. Most Rohingya people work in farming, fishing and cutting timber, but right now they are not allowed to fish or go into forests to chop wood. Most of the farming lands are occupied by the military. Most people are now involved in daily casual work. So everyday life is very challenging.

    The Rohingya are not the only minority in the region who face difficulties. Local ethnic groups such as the Chakma, Dynat and Mu, who live on the mountains, face challenges, even though their religion is Buddhist. Because they live in remote locations, they cannot access healthcare and education. They have no life opportunities.

    What was your experience of the violence that occurred in 2017?

    What I saw was people living in fear. I saw communities that were afraid of each other: Rohingya people and Rakhine people, the majority group within the state, were afraid of each other. I worked on medical clinics in northern Rakhine State and hired a taxi to transport medicines. My driver, who was from the Rakhine group, did not want to take me to the area. You had people unable to go to the other communities because they did not think they would come back.

    What role do you think hate speech and extremist views played in stoking conflict?

    Most of the hate speech and extremist protest and provocations came from extreme groups in the big cities, and was spread by social media, whereas in rural communities it was more that you had villages of different ethnic groups that were afraid of each other. There was a lot of misinformation spread through social media, and this was viral. No one could know what was true or not. Positive stories and true information were far less viral than hate speech and misinformation.

    In the major cities, hate speech and misinformation turned a social conflict into a religious conflict between Buddhism and Islam. Extremist Buddhist monks turned this into a bigger conflict. Extremist groups spread disinformation and encouraged extremism, with the unofficial support of the military and political parties, in their own interests. People played political games in the big cities, but they had no connection to the villages in the conflict area. Those people were the most affected and they were living in fear, and live in fear now. There is a big challenge in controlling hate speech and misinformation on social media.

    It is much harder for civil society voices promoting social cohesion and religious harmony to be heard compared to hate speech, but civil society is trying to do this. These are messages my organisation is trying to promote very strongly in the conflict areas. But there is a need for more impact, and more efforts, not just from civil society but from the government. There is a need for much more activity that strengthens communities.

    What support is needed, including from the international community, to improve the lives of minorities and people affected by conflict?

    There is a lot of willingness from the international community to support people in Rakhine State, and not only Rohingya people but also other minorities. But the most challenging thing at the moment is that national government and local authorities are limiting them from doing so, and have been doing since 2017. So there is a lack of ability to really go into the villages and directly help people.

    The international community needs to engage with the national government and local authorities so that they are willing to work with them and listen to the voices of local communities and support them in the areas affected by conflict. They need to build relationships with the government, and the government needs to work with the international community. The government needs to open the doors.

    It is all about access – access to healthcare, access to education, access to livelihoods. Right now access is blocked. Even access to the internet was blocked by the government, between June and September. People don’t have access to the means to share their voices. People are also scared of speaking out because of restrictive media laws. They fear they will get into trouble. This is why I try to share their stories. So, access is the big challenge. We need more access by the community for the community. This is why the government needs to open the doors for international and local civil society.

    Civic space in Myanmar is rated as ‘repressed’ by theCIVICUS Monitor.

    Get in touch withCenter for Social Integrity through its website andFacebook pages, and on Twitter@cfor_integrity.

     

  • ‘The idea that a certain group does not belong in a country is instrumental in enabling discrimination and persecution against it’

    CIVICUS speaks toSusannah Sirkin, director of international policy and partnerships and senior advisor with Physicians for Human Rights (PHR). Founded in 1986, PHR uses medicine and science to document and call attention to mass atrocities and severe human rights violations. PHR’s work focuses on the physical and psychological effects of torture and sexual violence, the forensic documentation of attacks on civilians, the unnecessary and excessive use of force during civil unrest, and the protection of medical institutions and health professionals working on the frontline of human rights crises. Sirkin oversees PHR’s international policy engagement, including its work with the United Nations, domestic and international justice systems, and human rights coalitions, and is also responsible for managing and multiplying PHR’s strategic partnerships globally.

    1. What is the current situation of the Rohingya people in Myanmar’s Rakhine state and in the refugee camps in Bangladesh?

    The situation is absolutely desperate and devastating, both inside Myanmar, as far as anybody can tell, and in Bangladesh, as the world is able to see on television. Essentially, what we have witnessed over the past six months – although this has been building up for years – is what the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (UNHCHR) has referred to as possible genocide, and what most organisations concerned with international law and human rights have denounced as crimes against humanity. Dozens of Rohingya villages have been burnt to the ground, forcing people to flee on long journeys through the jungle to reach a very precarious situation in Bangladesh. People fleeing have been pursued and attacked with guns and other weapons not just by the military but also by civilian members of the Burmese population.

    In Bangladesh, refugees are living in incredibly overcrowded, under-resourced, and dangerous camps – it’s hardly fair to even call them “camps,” although the situation has improved a bit over the past couple of months. More than 620,000 Rohingya, about half the population, have so far fled Rakhine state, and they have nowhere else to go. So they are forced to stay on a very small piece of land in one of the poorest and already most densely populated countries in the world. There have already been outbreaks of infectious diseases, and given the problems of overcrowding and lack of basic hygiene and sanitation, which my own team at Physicians for Human Rights (PHR) has recently reported, it is possible for infectious diseases to spread rapidly and with lethal results.

    Essentially, the world has witnessed the virtual destruction of a culture, a community and a portion of the Burmese population. Myanmar and Bangladesh have recently reached an agreement for the Rohingya to return to Myanmar, but nobody really believes such an agreement can be implemented under the present circumstances. In the first place, refugees shouldn’t be sent back to Myanmar unless citizenship and basic rights are guaranteed. In the second, the provisions in the agreement involve Rohingya providing documents according to citizenship laws that don’t recognise them as citizens. This is obviously hugely problematic. What’s more, they have no homes to return to, as their villages have been burned, their lands and cattle seized by their non-Muslim neighbours, and many in their families and communities killed. There have also been very serious reports of mass rapes of women and girls, as well as killings of babies and young children, so the situation couldn’t be worse on any count.

    2. Why is the Rohingya minority being specifically targeted?

    There’s a long history of discrimination and persecution of minority groups in Myanmar, not only of the Rohingya but also of the Chin, Kachin, Karen, and Shan minorities. PHR has documented the persecution of ethnic minorities in Myanmar for a decade, and other human rights groups have done it long before us.

    Historically, it has been a problem for people who are not Burmese to live in Burma or Myanmar. There is a hyper-nationalist strain among both the population and the country’s leadership, and, on top of this, the country has lived for decades under a military dictatorship that persecuted not only the political opposition but also ethnic and religious minorities.

    Myanmar has failed to recognise diversity and human rights for all its population. The Rohingya, a Muslim minority in a country that has a Buddhist majority, have long been deprived of their citizenship and treated as if they were illegal immigrants from Bangladesh. Many Rohingya have lived in Rakhine state for several generations, well over a hundred years, and belong in Myanmar as much as anybody else. However, in the latest census they were not counted among Burmese minorities but rather as foreigners lacking the protections that citizens receive under the law.

    The idea that a certain group does not belong in a country is instrumental in enabling discrimination and persecution against it. A few years ago, PHR released a report on the burning of Muslim homes in Buddhist-dominated areas of Myanmar. We documented a well-known massacre in the town of Meikhtila, where police and security officials stood by and watched as local population burned houses and people alive. These actions had long been encouraged by racist and anti-Muslim rhetoric, fuelled by a few very charismatic Buddhist monks that had much influence with the population.

    Before the 2015 crackdown and subsequent crisis, more than one million Rohingya lived in Myanmar, most of them in Rakhine state. Their relationship with their Buddhist neighbours had been tense for quite some time, and outbreaks of violence had been relatively frequent in the past. The current crisis broke out in August 2017, when government forces were attacked by militants and a “clearance operation” was launched by Myanmar security forces in response. Mass expulsion of the Rohingya has since been executed under the pretence of a counter-insurgency operation, with the local population joining in burning villages and killing people. This looks like a very well-coordinated effort between officials and citizens, which is very disturbing.

    In present Myanmar, the situation is compounded by the denial of human rights on multiple levels. We have recently seen a frightening crackdown on the freedom of expression in the country, and for some time the area in northern Rakhine State has been closed off to journalists. For some years now, it has been very difficult for humanitarian aid to reach the area. When a government shuts down access in such way, one can only fear the worst, because it strongly suggests that they are trying to hide something.

    3. Has progressive and human rights-oriented civil society in Myanmar and Bangladesh done anything to respond to this crisis? If so, what challenges have they faced?

    There have been efforts by very courageous individuals and organisations inside Myanmar, especially those representing minority groups, as well as human rights and humanitarian organisations. But it is extremely dangerous, if not impossible, to be an independent civil society voice inside Myanmar right now. For the Rohingya in Rakhine State, speaking up means sure death, and there is no access even for journalists to document what is going on in the area. So, unfortunately, even the most courageous members of civil society have been silenced by persecution.

    In Bangladesh, there are a number of efforts underway, particularly by the humanitarian community, to help the refugees. But it’s not the best possible situation in terms of humanitarian response, either. The fact that the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) was not designated as the lead agency has been viewed negatively, although there has been strong coordination between the International Organization for Migration and UNHCR. In any case, the refugee influx has been overwhelming and the early response was insufficient. Moreover, this is happening in a challenging environment, and we need to understand that such an influx of refugees can be nothing but overwhelming for a country like Bangladesh – which makes an adequate international response all the more important.

    4. You mentioned that the area where the atrocities are occurring is closed to journalists and civil society. What challenges have PHR and similar organisations faced in documenting the abuses?

    The number one challenge is that human rights groups can’t get into Myanmar. It is therefore extremely difficult to do what we are supposed to do in terms of properly and independently documenting and assessing the facts inside the country where the crimes have occurred. The prohibition not only applies to human rights civil society organisations – representatives of the UNHCHR and the UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Myanmar have also been barred from visiting the country. On the other hand, entry was allowed for the Special Representative of the Secretary-General on Sexual Violence in Conflict, who was able to interview survivors and confirm reports of atrocities.

    As we lack access to Myanmar, we have instead documented what has happened to this people by interviewing them in Bangladesh. Thankfully, human rights groups and humanitarian organisations have had access to refugee camps, and this has been critical to documenting the plight of the Rohingya and their current humanitarian situation, and reporting on it. Doing this in the middle of a huge humanitarian crisis poses specific challenges. We are basically interviewing survivors who are desperately in need of trauma recovery, medical care, shelter, food, water, sanitation, and information about their missing family members. We have interviewed people who lost everybody in their families and are the sole survivors; people who have seen their homes burned to the ground, who had family members raped and shot dead, who were shot at even while crossing the river to get to Bangladesh. Documenting these kinds of human rights violations is certainly challenging for the person that is being interviewed, but it is also challenging for the one doing the reporting, because the need is so intense and the trauma is so acute – and we are a medically-based organisation, after all.

    5. What support should the international community offer to resolve this crisis?

    First, what most urgently requires a response from global governments is the humanitarian crisis unfolding on the ground in Bangladesh, in order to meet the most desperate needs of the refugees.

    Second, there is a need for governments of the most powerful countries with influence on the Myanmar government – including China, which has consistently supported the government – to exert pressure so Myanmar immediately stops persecuting this population and gives them the citizenship and associated guarantees that they are due.

    It is important to note that there have been high expectations regarding the role of Aung San Suu Kyi, the Nobel Peace Prize laureate who is now Myanmar’s nominal head of state, and her apparent lack of concern and acknowledgment of what her government has been doing have been very concerning. On one hand, we need to understand that she has limited control over the country’s military forces enacting the brutal campaign against the Rohingya. On the other hand, however, the international community needs to send Suu Kyi a strong message, since so much of the Burmese population views her as a leader and a hero, and her voice could change the tenor of this crisis – it could turn the population away from prejudice, discrimination, and persecution of the Rohingya and other minorities.

    Third, there needs to be credible efforts to establish accountability and justice. This is critical, given the seriousness of the crimes that have been committed. Unfortunately, efforts to refer the crimes in Myanmar to the International Criminal Court for assessment have been blocked by China, among others.

    Finally, it is also crucial to confront the flaws of the repatriation agreement, so that anybody who chooses to return to Myanmar is able to do so safely and with guarantees for all their human rights, including the right to reclaim their land, property, livelihood, and employment, as well as to practice their religion freely and safely. On the other hand, those who choose not to go back need to be guaranteed the right to claim asylum and find safe haven in another country. Policy-wise, the biggest challenge will be defining what will happen to these people who have fled in such high numbers.

    This will not be an easy crisis to solve. Global politics are not looking particularly good at the moment. World leaders and the Security Council have many other crises to deal with, including the North Korea situation, Iran, Syria, Yemen, South Sudan, and so on. Many of us are worried that people are going to forget about this particular crisis unfolding in a remote part of the world, so it is vital to continue to call attention to these serious human rights abuses and not let the world forget that this is an ongoing humanitarian crisis. As recently as last week, we’ve seen reports of outbreaks of diphtheria, and there are fears of a cholera epidemic, which will not be easy to contain. The long-term solution to this crisis will most definitely require continuous surveillance, reporting, and action by UN bodies, regional organisations, individual governments, and civil society.

    • Civic space in Myanmar is rated as ‘repressed’ in the CIVICUS Monitor, indicating serious restrictions in the freedoms of association, peaceful assembly, and expression.
    • Get in touch with PHR through their website or Facebook page, or follow @P4HR and @susannahsirkin on Twitter

     

  • 5 countries on CIVICUS Monitor watchlist presented to UN Human Rights Council

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

    This Council has identified restrictions on fundamental freedoms as a warning sign of an impending human rights crisis. Five countries were highlighted in the latest CIVICUS Monitor Watchlist, which puts a spotlight on a group of countries where there has been a rapid decline in respect for civic space. 

    These include Myanmar, where a military coup has led to deaths of at least 50 protesters, and the arbitrary detention of more than a thousand activists, protesters and politicians, while journalists are targeted daily. 

    In Nicaragua, there has been systematic repression of demonstrations. Human rights defenders, journalists and perceived political opponents face criminalisation and harassment, and a recent onslaught of repressive laws hinders civic space still further.

    In Poland, months of ongoing protests sparked by a near-total ban on abortion have been met with excessive force by authorities and far-right groups. Laws and reforms which undermine judicial independence and the rule of law have been passed since 2015 and media freedom is under threat. 

    In Russia, there have been large scale attacks on peaceful assembly and journalists during the massive nationwide peaceful protests. Over 10,000 protesters have been detained.

    In Togo, where civic space has been backsliding since 2017, the detention of a journalist and trade unionists and the suspension of a newspaper are recent examples highlighting the deterioration in the respect of civic freedoms.

    The Council cannot fulfill its protection or prevention mandates unless it is prepared to take meaningful action in situations which show such warning signs. We call for stronger scrutiny on Myanmar and Nicaragua to be brought by the Council this session, and for due attention on Poland, Russia and Togo to prevent deteriorating situations on the ground. 

    Civic space ratings by CIVICUS Monitor
    Open Narrowed Obstructed  Repressed Closed

     

     

  • 5 países de la lista de vigilancia de CIVICUS se presentan al Consejo de Derechos Humanos de la ONU

     

    Declaración en el 46º período de sesiones del Consejo de Derechos Humanos de la ONU

    Este Consejo ha identificado las restricciones a las libertades fundamentales como una señal de alarma de una inminente crisis de derechos humanos. Cinco países han sido destacados en la última lista de vigilancia de CIVICUS Monitor, la cual pone el punto de mira un grupo de países en los que se ha producido un rápido declive del respeto al espacio cívico.

    Entre ellos se encuentra Myanmar, donde un golpe militar ha provocado la muerte de al menos 50 manifestantes y la detención arbitraria de más de mil activistas, manifestantes y políticos, mientras que los periodistas son objeto de ataques diarios.

    En Nicaragua se ha producido una represión sistemática de las manifestaciones. Los defensores de derechos humanos, los periodistas y los presuntos opositores políticos sufren criminalización y acoso. Además, una reciente oleada de leyes represivas obstaculiza aún más el espacio cívico.

    En Polonia, las autoridades y los grupos de extrema derecha han respondido con una fuerza excesiva a los meses de protestas desencadenadas por la prohibición casi total del aborto. Desde 2015 se han aprobado leyes y reformas que socavan la independencia judicial y el Estado de derecho. Asimismo, la libertad de los medios de comunicación está amenazada.

    En Rusia se han producido agresiones a gran escala contra las reuniones pacíficas y los periodistas durante las masivas protestas pacíficas a nivel nacional. Más de 10.000 manifestantes han sido detenidos.

    En Togo, donde el espacio cívico se ha visto limitado desde 2017, la detención de un periodista y de sindicalistas y la suspensión de un periódico son ejemplos recientes que ponen de manifiesto el deterioro del respeto a las libertades cívicas.

    El Consejo no puede cumplir sus mandatos de protección o prevención a menos que esté preparado para tomar medidas significativas en situaciones que muestren tales señales de alerta. Pedimos que el Consejo lleve a cabo un examen más riguroso de Myanmar y Nicaragua en este periodo de sesiones, y que preste la debida atención a Polonia, Rusia y Togo para evitar el deterioro de la situación sobre el terreno.

    Calificaciónes de espacio cívico - CIVICUS Monitor
    Abierto Estrecho Obstruido  Represivo Cerrado

     

     

  • Advocacy priorities at 47th Session of UN Human Rights Council

    The 47th Session is set to run from 21 June to 15 July, and will cover a number of critical thematic and country issues. Like all Sessions held over the course of the pandemic, it will present challenges and opportunities for civil society engagement. CIVICUS encourages States to continue to raise the importance of civil society participation, which makes the Human Rights Council stronger, more informed and more effective.

     

  • Another Wave of Atrocity Crimes in Chin State UN Security Council Must Act Now to End Myanmar Junta’s Campaign of Terror

    We, the undersigned 521 Myanmar, regional and international civil society organizations, call on the UN Security Council to urgently convene a meeting on the escalating attacks in Chin State, and address the rapidly deteriorating humanitarian, human rights and political crisis in Myanmar. We call for the UN Security Council to adopt a resolution to consolidate international action to stop the military's violent assault against the people of Myanmar. The UN Security Council must also impose a global arms embargo to stop the flow of weapons and dual-use goods to the Myanmar military junta.

    It has been nine months since the attempted coup by the brutal Myanmar military. 1,236 people have been killedand 9,667 arbitrarily detained as of 3 November, 2021. The junta has continued its violent assault throughout Myanmar, recently deployed troops and increased its attacks against civilians in Chin State, Sagaing and Magwe Regions in north-western Myanmar, while continuing its attacks in Karenni, Karen and Shan States.

    On Friday 29 October, the Myanmar military began shelling the town of Thantlang in Western Chin State, setting as many as 200 houses and at least two churches on fire. Soldiers also deliberately torched houses at random.

    Save the Children - whose office in Thantlang was set on fire alongside local civil society organizations including Chin Human Rights Organization - strongly condemned the recent attacks stating “the incident is further evidence of a deepening crisis in Myanmar” as the violence continues to affect large numbers of children across the country. Such indiscriminate attacks against civilians and humanitarian organizations are violations of international law and constitute war crimes.

    Following the 1 February attempted coup, Chin State has been at the forefront of some of the strongest resistance to the Myanmar military junta. This has been met with fierce attacks by the military, including use of fighter jets and heavy artillery used against civilians while hundreds have been arbitrarily detained, and dozens killed. Prior to this most recent attack, approximately 10,000 residents had already fled Thantlang as the military junta indiscriminately shot into homes and set off fires by shelling in September. At the time, a Christian pastor who was attempting to put out the fires was shot dead, and his ring finger cruelly cut off and removed, along with his wedding ring. Those displaced have taken shelter in nearby villages and others have sought refuge in India. Many of those who have been displaced have been unable to access humanitarian aid as the junta weaponizes aid for their own political benefit, often blocking access or destroying it in an effort to weaken the resistance.

    In early October, amid increasing deployment of heavy weapons and troops by the military junta, the spokesperson for the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights urged “the international community to speak with one voice, to prevent the commission of further serious human rights violations against the people of Myanmar.” The UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights also warned of greater human rights catastrophe and further mass atrocity crimes amid the deployment of tens of thousands of troops stating, “These tactics are ominously reminiscent of those employed by the military before its genocidal attacks against the Rohingya in Rakhine State in 2016 and 2017.” Echoing these concerns, 29 Rohingya organizations have urged the Council not to repeat the mistakes it made in 2017 by failing to act on warnings of an impending military offensive against the Rohingya.

    Since the start of the attempted coup nine months ago, hundreds of Myanmar and international society organizations have repeatedly and vehemently called for the UN Security Council to act. This includes a statement from 92 Chin civil society organizations and Burma Campaign UK, who have called on the UK as the “penholder” of Myanmar at the UN Security Council to urgently act. The Special Advisory Council for Myanmar have also called for the UN Security Council to “issue a resolution to consolidate international action towards resolving the crisis.”

    Yet, the Security Council has failed to take any effective actions beyond statements. As the offensives escalate in Chin State, the UN Security Council must act before it is too late. It must convene an urgent meeting on the escalating attacks in Chin State and the overall deepening political, human rights and humanitarian crisis as a result of the Myanmar military leaders search for power and greed that has caused immense suffering. The human security risk not only threatens the people of Myanmar but also regional and thus global security and peace. The Council must immediately build on previous statements with concrete action by adopting a resolution that consolidates international action to resolve the deepening crisis, a global arms embargo to stop the flow of weapons, including dual-use goods, and refer the situation in Myanmar to the International Criminal Court. The Council must demonstrate that it will take concrete actions to stop the junta from committing further atrocity crimes and posing further risk to human security of the people of Myanmar.

    The UN must not continue to fail the people of Myanmar.

    For more information, please contact:

    • Khin Ohmar, Progressive Voice,
    • Salai Za Uk, Chin Human Rights Organization, 
    • Tun Khin, Burmese Rohingya Organization UK,

    Signed by 521 Myanmar, regional and international civil society organizations* including:

     

    1. 8888 Generation (New Zealand)
    2. Action Committee for Democracy Development
    3. African Great Lakes Action Network
    4. All Burma Democratic Face in New Zealand
    5. All Burma IT Student Union
    6. Alternative Solutions for Rural Communities (ASORCOM)
    7. ALTSEAN-Burma
    8. America Rohingya Justice Network
    9. American Baptist Churches USA
    10. American Rohingya Advocacy
    11. Ananda Data
    12. Anti-Dictatorship in Burma - DC Metropolitan Area
    13. Arakan CSO Network
    14. Arakan Institute for Peace and Development
    15. Arakan Rohingya Development Association – Australia
    16. Arakan Rohingya National Organisation (ARNO)
    17. Arakan Rohingya Union
    18. Arizona Kachin Community
    19. ASEAN Parliamentarians for Human Rights (APHR)
    20. Asho University Students Association (AUSA)
    21. Asho Youth Organization
    22. Asian Dignity Initiative
    23. Asian Forum for Human Rights and Development (FORUM-ASIA)
    24. Asian Resource Foundation
    25. Asia-Pacific Solidarity Coalition
    26. Assistance Association for Political Prisoners
    27. Association of Human Rights Defenders and Promoters
    28. Association of Women for Awareness & Motivation (AWAM)
    29. Athan – Freedom of Expression Activist Organization
    30. Auckland Kachin Community Inc.
    31. Auckland Zomi Community
    32. Australian Burmese Rohingya Organisation
    33. Backpack Health Workers Team
    34. Balaod Mindanaw
    35. Bangkok Chin University Student Fellowship
    36. Banglar Manabadhikar Suraksha Mancha (MASUM)
    37. Baptist World Alliance
    38. Blood Money Campaign
    39. British Rohingya Community in UK
    40. Buddhist Solidarity for Reform
    41. Burma Action Ireland 
    42. Burma Campaign UK 
    43. Burma Human Rights Network
    44. Burma Medical Association
    45. Burma Task Force
    46. Burmese American Millennials
    47. Burmese Community Support Group (Australia)
    48. Burmese Democratic Forces
    49. Burmese Rohingya Association in Queensland-Australia (BRAQA)
    50. Burmese Rohingya Association Japan (BRAJ)
    51. Burmese Rohingya Association of North America
    52. Burmese Rohingya Community Australia (BRCA)
    53. Burmese Rohingya Community in Denmark
    54. Burmese Rohingya Community of Georgia
    55. Burmese Rohingya Organisation UK
    56. Burmese Rohingya Welfare Organisation New Zealand
    57. Burmese Student Association at UCSB
    58. Burmese Women’s Union
    59. California Kachin Community
    60. Calvary Burmese Church 
    61. Campaign for a New Myanmar
    62. Canadian Burmese Rohingya Organisation
    63. Canadian Rohingya Development Initiative
    64. Cantors' Assembly
    65. CAU Buddhist
    66. CDM Supporter Team (Hakha)
    67. Central Chin Youth Organization (CCYO)
    68. Centre for Human Rights and Development, Mongolia
    69. Cherry Foundation (Yangon), Burma/Myanmar
    70. Chin Baptist Association, North America
    71. Chin Baptist Churches USA
    72. Chin Civil Society Network (CCSN)
    73. Chin Community of Auckland
    74. Chin Community of USA-DC Area 
    75. Chin Education Initiative (CEI)
    76. Chin Human Rights Organization
    77. Chin Humanitarian Assistance Team Rakhine State (CHAT)
    78. Chin Leaders of Tomorrow (CLT)
    79. Chin Literature and Culture Committee (Universities of Yangon)
    80. Chin Student Union - Kalay
    81. Chin Student Union - Pakokku
    82. Chin Student Union - Sittwe
    83. Chin Student Union of Myanmar
    84. Chin University Student Fellowship – Paletwa
    85. Chin University Students in Rakhine State (CUSRS)
    86. Chin Women Organization (CWO)
    87. Chin Women's Development Organization (CWDO)
    88. CIVICUS: World Alliance for Citizen Participation
    89. Coalition for Democracy
    90. Community Resource Centre (CRC)
    91. Dallas Kachin Community
    92. Darfur and Beyond, Phoenix, Arizona, USA
    93. DEEKU-Karenni Community of Amarillo, TX
    94. Democracy for Ethnic Minorities Organization
    95. Democracy for Myanmar - Working Group (NZ)
    96. Democracy, Peace and Women's Organization – DPW
    97. Equality Myanmar
    98. European Rohingya Council (ERC)
    99. Falam Phunsang Tlawngta Pawlkom
    100. Federal Myanmar Benevolence Group (NZ)
    101. Fidi Foundation (Hakha)
    102. Florida Kachin Community
    103. Free Burma Action Bay/USA/Global
    104. Free Myanmar Campaign USA/BACI
    105. Free Rohingya Coalition (FRC)
    106. Freedom for Burma
    107. Freedom, Justice, Equality for Myanmar
    108. Future Light Center
    109. Future Thanlwin
    110. Gender and Development Institute – Myanmar
    111. Gender Equality Myanmar
    112. Generation Wave
    113. Georgia Kachin Community
    114. Global Centre for the Responsibility to Protect
    115. Global Justice Center 
    116. Global Movement for Myanmar Democracy
    117. Global Myanmar Spring Revolution
    118. Global Witness
    119. Globe International Center
    120. Grassroots Movement for Burma
    121. Green Party Korea International Committee
    122. Hakha Campaign for Justice
    123. Hakha University Student Organization (HUSO)
    124. Houston Kachin Community
    125. Human Rights Alert
    126. Human Rights Development for Myanmar
    127. Human Rights Foundation of Monland
    128. Human Rights Watch
    129. Imparsial
    130. Incorporated Organization Shilcheon Bulgyo
    131. Infinite Burma
    132. Initiatives for International Dialogue
    133. Institute for Asian Democracy
    134. Inter Pares
    135. International Campaign for the Rohingya
    136. International Karen Organisation 
    137. Iowa Kachin Community
    138. Ipas
    139. Jewish World Watch
    140. Jogye Order Chapter of Korea Democracy Union
    141. Justice For Myanmar
    142. Kachin Alliance
    143. Kachin American Community (Portland – Vancouver)
    144. Kachin Community of Indiana
    145. Kachin Community of USA
    146. Kachin National Organization USA
    147. Kachin Peace Network (KPN)
    148. Kachin State Women Network
    149. Kachin Women’s Association Thailand
    150. Kanpetlet University Student Organization
    151. Kansas Karenni Community, KS
    152. Karen American Association of Milwaukee, WI
    153. Karen Association of Huron, SD 
    154. Karen Community of Akron, OH 
    155. Karen Community of Iowa, IA 
    156. Karen Community of Kansas City, KS & MO 
    157. Karen Community of Minnesota, MN 
    158. Karen Community of North Carolina, NC 
    159. Karen Environmental and Social Action Network
    160. Karen Human Rights Group
    161. Karen Organization of America
    162. Karen Organization of Illinois, IL
    163. Karen Organization of San Diego
    164. Karen Peace Support Network
    165. Karen Rivers Watch
    166. Karen Women’s Organization
    167. Karen Youth Education Pathways 
    168. Karenni Civil Society Network
    169. Karenni Community of Arizona, AZ
    170. Karenni Community of Arkensas, AK
    171. Karenni Community of Austin, TX
    172. Karenni Community of Bowling Green, KY
    173. Karenni Community of Buffalo, NY
    174. Karenni Community of Chicago, IL
    175. Karenni Community of Colorado, CO
    176. Karenni Community of Dallas, TX
    177. Karenni Community of Des Moines, IA
    178. Karenni Community of Florida, FL
    179. Karenni Community of Fort Worth, TX
    180. Karenni Community of Georgia, GA
    181. Karenni Community of Houston, TX
    182. Karenni Community of Idaho, ID
    183. Karenni Community of Indianapolis, IN
    184. Karenni Community of Massachusetts, MA
    185. Karenni Community of Michigan, MI
    186. Karenni Community of Minnesota, MN
    187. Karenni Community of Missouri, MO
    188. Karenni Community of North Carolina, NC
    189. Karenni Community of Portland, OR
    190. Karenni Community of Rockford, IL
    191. Karenni Community of San Antonio, TX
    192. Karenni Community of Sioux Falls, SD
    193. Karenni Community of Utah, UT
    194. Karenni Community of Utica, NY
    195. Karenni Community of Washington, WA
    196. Karenni Community of Wisconsin, WI
    197. Karenni Human Rights Group
    198. Karenni National Women’s Organization
    199. Karenni Society New Zealand
    200. Karenni Society of Omaha, NE
    201. Karenni-American Association
    202. Kaung Rwai Social Action Network
    203. Keng Tung Youth
    204. Kentucky Kachin Community
    205. Korean Ashram
    206. L'chaim! Jews Against the Death Penalty
    207. Los Angeles Rohingya Association
    208. Louisiana Kachin Community
    209. Manyou Power People
    210. Maryland Kachin Community
    211. Matupi University Student Fellowship
    212. Metta Campaign Mandalay
    213. Metta-Vipassana Center
    214. Michigan Kachin Community
    215. MINBYUN - Lawyers for a Democratic Society International Solidarity Committee
    216. Mindat University Student Union
    217. Minnesota Kachin Community
    218. Mizo Student Fellowship
    219. Myanmar Advocacy Coalition
    220. Myanmar Cultural Research Society (MCRS)
    221. Myanmar Engineers - New Zealand
    222. Myanmar Ethnic Rohingya Human Rights Organisation in Malaysia
    223. Myanmar Gonye (New Zealand)
    224. Myanmar Peace Bikers
    225. Myanmar People Alliance (Shan State)
    226. Myanmar Students' Union in New Zealand
    227. Nationalities Alliance of Burma USA
    228. NeT Organization
    229. Network for Human Rights Documentation (ND-Burma)
    230. Never Again Coalition
    231. New Bodhisattva Network
    232. New York Kachin Community
    233. New Zealand Doctors for NUG
    234. New Zealand Karen Association
    235. New Zealand Zo Community Inc.
    236. Ninu (Women in Action Group)
    237. No Business With Genocide
    238. North Carolina Kachin Community
    239. Nyan Lynn Thit Analytica
    240. Olive Organization
    241. Omaha Kachin Community
    242. Overseas Mon Association. New Zealand
    243. Pa-O Women’s Union
    244. Pa-O Youth Organization
    245. Pennsylvania Kachin Community
    246. People’s Initiative for Development Alternatives
    247. People's Solidarity for Participatory Democracy (PSPD)
    248. Progressive Voice
    249. Pyithu Gonye (New Zealand)
    250. Rohingya Action Ireland
    251. Rohingya American Society
    252. Rohingya Arakanese Refugee Committee
    253. Rohingya Community in Netherlands
    254. Rohingya Community in Norway
    255. Rohingya Culture Centre Chicago
    256. Rohingya Human Rights Initiative
    257. Rohingya Human Rights Network (Canada)
    258. Rohingya Organisation Norway
    259. Rohingya Refugee Network
    260. Rohingya Society Malaysia
    261. Rohingya Women Development Network (RWDN)
    262. Rohingya Youth Development Forum (RYDF)
    263. Rvwang Community Association New Zealand
    264. Save and Care Organization for Ethnic Women at Border Areas
    265. Save Myanmar Fundraising Group (New Zealand)
    266. Save the Salween Network
    267. SEA Junction
    268. SEGRI
    269. Shan Community (New Zealand)
    270. Shan MATA
    271. Sitt Nyein Pann Foundation
    272. Solidarity for Another World
    273. South Carolina Kachin Community
    274. Spring Revolution Interfaith Network
    275. Stepping Stone for Peace
    276. Students for Free Burma
    277. Support the Democracy Movement in Burma
    278. Swedish Burma Committee
    279. Swedish Rohingya Association
    280. Synergy - Social Harmony Organization
    281. Ta’ang Women’s Organization
    282. Tedim Youth Association (TYA)
    283. Tennessee Kachin Community
    284. Thantlang Revolutionary Campaigner
    285. Thantlang University Student Organization (TUSO)
    286. Thantlang Youth Association (TYA)
    287. The Center for Freedom of Information
    288. The Pastors Fellowship
    289. The Sound of Hope
    290. The Spring University Myanmar (SUM)
    291. Thint Myat Lo Thu Myar
    292. S. Campaign for Burma 
    293. UION
    294. Union for Reform Judaism (URJ)
    295. Union of Karenni State Youth
    296. Unitarian Universalist Association
    297. Unitarian Universalist Service Committee (UUSC)
    298. Virginia Kachin Community
    299. Washington Kachin Community
    300. West Virginia Kachin Community
    301. Women Peace Network 
    302. Women’s Advocacy Coalition – Myanmar
    303. Women’s League of Burma
    304. WOREC Nepal
    305. Yeollin Seonwon
    306. Zomi Federal Union (ZFU)
    307. Zomi Siamsim Kipawlna - Myanmar
    308. Zotung Student Society (ZSS - Myanmar)

    *Note: 213 organizations' names are not disclosed at their request due to security concerns.

    Civic space in Myanmar is considered repressed by the CIVICUS Monitor

     

  • As the climate crisis intensifies, so does the crackdown on environmental activism, finds new report

    New research brief from the CIVICUS Monitor examines the crackdown of environmental activism and profiles important victories civil society has scored in the fight for climate justice.

    • Environmental protests are being criminalised and met with repression on all continents
    • State authorities and private companies are common perpetrators of violations to civic freedoms
    • Despite the risks and restrictions, activist groups continue to score important victories to advance climate justice.

    As world leaders meet in Glasgow for the UN Climate Change Negotiations (COP26), peaceful environmental activists are being threatened, silenced and criminalised around the world. The host of this year's meeting is one of many countries where activists are regularly facing rights violations.

    New research from the CIVICUS Monitor looks at the common tactics and restrictions being used by governments and private companies to suppress environmental movements. The research brief “Defenders of our planet: Resilience in the face of restrictions” focuses on three worrying trends: Bans and restrictions on protests; Judicial harassment and legal persecution; and the use of violence, including targeted killings.

    As the climate crisis intensifies, activists and civil society groups continue to mobilise to hold policymakers and corporate leaders to account. From Brazil to South Africa, activists are putting their lives on the line to protect lands and to halt the activities of high-polluting industries. The most severe rights abuses are often experienced by civil society groups that are standing up to the logging, mining and energy giants who are exploiting natural resources and fueling global warming.

    As people take to the streets, governments have been instituting bans that criminalise environmental protests. Recently governments have used COVID-19 as a pretext to disrupt and break up demonstrations. Data from the CIVICUS Monitor indicates that the detention of protesters and the use of excessive force by authorities are becoming more prevalent.

    In Cambodia in May 2021, three environmental defenders were sentenced to 18 to 20 months in prison for planning a protest  against the filling of a lake in the capital. While in Finland this past June, over 100 activists were arrested for participating in a protest calling for the government to take urgent action on climate change. From authoritarian countries to  mature democracies, the research also profiles those who have been put behind bars for peacefully protesting.

    “Silencing activists and denying them of their fundamental civic rights is another tactic being used by leaders to evade and delay action on climate change” said Marianna Belalba Barreto, Research Lead for the CIVICUS Monitor. “Criminalising nonviolent protests has become a troubling indicator that governments are not committed to saving the planet .”

    The report shows that many of the measures being deployed by governments to restrict rights are not compatible with international law. Examples of courts and legislative bodies reversing attempts to criminalise nonviolent climate protests are few and far between.

    Despite the increased risks and restrictions facing environmental campaigners, the report also shows that a wide range of campaigns have scored important victories, including the closure of mines and numerous hazardous construction projects. Equally significant has been the rise of climate litigation by activist groups. Ironically, as authorities take activists to court for exercising their fundamental right to protest, activist groups have successfully filed lawsuits against governments and companies in over 25 countries for failing to act on climate change.


    DOWNLOAD REPORT

     

  • ASEAN must step up its efforts to address deteriorating human rights and civic space situation in Southeast Asia

    Under the Chairmanship of Cambodia in 2022, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) must meaningfully address the regressive human rights crisis in the region, including the rapidly deteriorating situation in Myanmar, said rights groups at a webinar today.

    The webinar titled ‘Cambodia as ASEAN Chair: Prospects for Human Rights in 2022’ organised by CIVICUS: World Alliance for Citizen Participation and Asian Forum for Human Rights and Development (FORUM-ASIA) discussed the human rights situation in the region and how the ASEAN has responded in 2021 as well as its trajectory as Cambodia spearheads ASEAN next year.

    Eleven months after the coup and eight months since ASEAN leaders adopted the five-point consensus, the human rights and humanitarian crisis continues unabated in Myanmar ‒ at least 1,200 people including children have been killed and 10,568 arrested. The deteriorating situation affects not only the daily lives of the people on the ground but also the human rights and political discourse at the regional and international level.

    Questions remain as to what extent the regional bloc can effectively bring immediate progress to the situation of Myanmar or if it will just be used to legitimise the military regime.

    ‘While we welcome the decision by ASEAN to exclude the military junta from ASEAN Summits, we are deeply concerned about the lack of substantive actions to mitigate the Myanmar crisis. The whole country is now dealing with a multi-level crisis. It is not sufficient for ASEAN alone to tackle this crisis. Therefore, we call on ASEAN to cooperate with the UN and international mechanisms to take immediate concrete actions. Further delays in actions will allow the junta to commit more atrocities and this means more bloodshed for the people on the ground,’ said Khin Ohmar, Chair of Progressive Voice.

    ‘As the next chair, Cambodia has a huge task ahead to ensure that ASEAN unity and credibility is not lost. If ASEAN allows the junta to continue in this manner, the Myanmar crisis will further impact the regional stability and development. ASEAN needs to understand that it is in its best interest to work with the National Unity Government and the people of Myanmar,’ she added.

    ‘We want ASEAN leadership to have a strategic vision and action plan. ASEAN will not be able to implement its five-point consensus alone, particularly after the junta military has blatantly denied their commitment in the consensus. Under the Cambodia Chairmanship, ASEAN must engage with NUG, the United Nations, dialogue partners, and civil society. What is happening is not only a crisis to Myanmar but a crisis to the credibility of ASEAN and threats to security in general,’ said U Bo Hla Tint, Myanmar National Unity Government Ambassador to ASEAN.

    According to the CIVICUS Monitor, fundamental freedoms in half of ASEAN Member States are rated as ‘repressed’. The year 2021 has also shown how restrictive laws have been used to stifle dissent and prosecute human rights defenders in numerous ASEAN countries and new laws passed that would curtail civic space. Further there has been a crackdown on peaceful protests and the use of extra-legal tactics, including online surveillance and smear campaigns, as well as torture and ill-treatment. In Cambodia specifically, CIVICUS documented the arbitrary arrest of dozens of activists, judicial harassment, and intimidation of opposition party CNRP members and families, and reprisals on journalists.

    ‘It is difficult to see how ASEAN would meaningfully progress on human rights issues with Cambodia at the helm. It has become a de facto one-party state after dismantling the opposition. Civic space has also continued to shrink in the country and those speaking up have faced blatant judicial harassment and at times outright violence. At the same time, we need to keep the pressure on them and support Cambodian civil society,’ said Josef Benedict, Asia Pacific Researcher of CIVICUS.

    Under the pretext of COVID-19, Cambodia has introduced draconian measures such as the National Internet Gateway to increase online surveillance. This adds to the long list of concerns including the arbitrary arrest and judicial harassment of defenders and political opposition in the country. Cambodia’s degrading human rights record raises concerns about whether it has the political will to take the steps needed to improve on the human rights situation of ASEAN.

    ‘Cambodia should strive to improve the dire human rights situation it is facing domestically – especially considering the fact that elections are fast approaching – while also seeking to ensure regional peace and stability. As ASEAN chair, Cambodia must rally its ASEAN partners to answer the calls for support coming from Myanmar, and take concrete action rather than hide behind the argument of non-interference,’ said Sopheap Chak, the Executive Director of the Cambodian Center for Human Rights (CCHR).

    ASEAN’s prospects of human rights in 2022 remain rocky and uncertain, reflecting on the domestic situation ASEAN Member States, particularly its Chair, must deal with. Nevertheless, the panelists called on civil society and various actors to keep monitoring the progress, or lack thereof, by ASEAN in responding to the situation of human rights and civic space in the region, particularly on immediate measures to bring an end to the crisis in Myanmar.

    ***
    CIVICUS is a global alliance dedicated to strengthening citizen action and civil society around the world with 8,500 members in more than 175 countries. Based out of Johannesburg, CIVICUS has offices in New York and Geneva. www.civicus.org

    The Asian Forum for Human Rights and Development (FORUM-ASIA) is a network of 82 member organisations across 23 countries, mainly in Asia. Founded in 1991, FORUM-ASIA works to strengthen movements for human rights and sustainable development through research, advocacy, capacity development and solidarity actions in Asia and beyond. It has consultative status with the United Nations Economic and Social Council, and consultative relationship with the ASEAN Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights. The FORUM-ASIA Secretariat is based in Bangkok, with offices in Jakarta, Geneva and Kathmandu. www.forum-asia.org

    Media contact:

    • Cornelius Hanung, Asia Advocacy and Campaigns Officer of CIVICUS ()
    • Communications and Media Programme, FORUM-ASIA ()

    The CIVICUS Monitor is an online platform that tracks threats to civil society in all countries across the globe.

     

  • ASEAN summit must call on Myanmar's military to end the violence and restore elected government

     

    Re: ASEAN summit must address grave violations in Myanmar by security forces
    To: H.E. Lim Jock Hoi
    Secretary-General of ASEAN
    70A Jalan Sisingamangaraja
    Jakarta 12110, Indonesia
    CC: ASEAN Foreign Ministers
    Members of the ASEAN Inter-governmental Commission on Human Rights (AICHR)
    ASEAN Missions to the United Nations Office in Geneva
    Le Thi Nam Huong, ASEAN Assistant Director Human Rights Division

     

    Dear Secretary General,

    CIVICUS: World Alliance for Citizen Participation is a global alliance of civil society organisations (CSOs) and activists dedicated to strengthening citizen action and civil society around the world. Founded in 1993, CIVICUS has more than 10,000 members in more than 175 countries throughout the world.

    We are writing to you with regards to the ongoing human rights crisis in Myanmar following the military coup and declaration of the state of emergency on 1 February 2021 and ahead of the planned summit by the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) on the crisis scheduled for 24 April 2021. As violence escalates, the situation poses a severe risk to humanitarian and political security in the region. ASEAN has both a critical role to play in addressing this crisis, and also a responsibility to protect those on the ground, including the millions of people in Myanmar who face ongoing human rights violations. Further, with elections overturned, the coup has deprived the people of Myanmar of their elected government which is inconsistent with the principles in the ASEAN Charter.

    We have been documenting the state of civic freedoms in the country and are extremely concerned about the brutal crackdown on peaceful protests and civilians by the security forces, which continue unchecked. At least 700 people have been unlawfully killed or extrajudicially executed, including children, as security forces have resorted to violent tactics and battlefield weapons.1 Thousands have also been injured.

    Security forces have also unleashed a campaign of random terror at night in residential areas of Yangon and other cities and towns. They are conducting house-to-house searches beating, arresting and even murdering people apparently at random, while destroying or looting private property.2

    The security forces have also taken over 3,000 people into custody including politicians, election officials, journalists, activists, and protesters and refused to confirm their location or allow access to lawyers or family members.3 Many are facing charges including treason, for causing fear, ‘spreading fake news or agitating against government employees’ under section 505(A) of the Penal Code and other laws, some which have been tightened following the coup, removing rights with respect to liberty and security of person and due process. 4

    The junta has also continued to impose an internet shutdown. Multiple telecoms companies have been ordered to shut off various internet services like mobile data, roaming and public wi-fi for different lengths of time. The efforts appear designed to interfere with protestors organising and to prevent Myanmar citizens, journalists and human rights activists from easily broadcasting what’s happening on the ground to the rest of the world.

    Despite these repressive actions by the military junta, the brave people of Myanmar have continued to mobilise to demand that democracy be restored. Further, on 8 February, the Committee Representing Pyidaungsu Hluttaw (CRPH) was formed, representing elected members of the Union Parliament from the National League for Democracy (NLD) and a National Unity Government was formed on 16 April 2021.

    International and regional response

    Since the coup we have seen strong condemnation from the international community with regards to the severe human rights violations in Myanmar. Michelle Bachelet, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights has called on states with influence to urgently apply concerted pressure on the military in Myanmar to halt the commission of grave human rights violations and possible crimes against humanity.5

    On 24 March, the UN Human Rights Council adopted by consensus a resolution on Myanmar which mandates dedicated monitoring and reporting from the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights focusing on accountability, and on rule of law and security sector reform following the coup. It furthermore calls for an assessment by the High Commissioner on the implementation of recommendations relating to the economic interests of the military.6

    On 17 March 2021, the Independent Investigative Mechanism for Myanmar - created by the United Nations Human Rights Council - said it was closely following events and collecting evidence regarding arbitrary arrests, torture, enforced disappearances and the use of force, including lethal force, against those peacefully opposing the coup.7 On 2 April, the UN Security Council “strongly condemned” the deaths of hundreds of civilians in Myanmar, in a unanimous statement. It also called on regional organizations, in particular ASEAN, to address the situation in Myanmar.8

    A number of countries have also since imposed sanctions against military officials including the Tatmadaw's Commander-in-Chief, Min Aung Hlaing, and Deputy-Commander-in-Chief, Soe Win as well as two military holding companies, Myanmar Economic Holdings Public Company Limited (MEHL) and Myanmar Economic Corporation Limited (MEC).

    Within ASEAN, Brunei, the current chair has called for a “return to normalcy in accordance with the will and interests of the people of Myanmar" adding that "we recall the purposes and the principles enshrined in the ASEAN Charter, including, the adherence to the principles of democracy, the rule of law and good governance, respect for and protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms”. Malaysia, Indonesia, the Philippines and Singapore have all expressed alarm over the killings of demonstrators.9

    CIVICUS believes this summit is a critical opportunity for ASEAN governments to take necessary steps to address the human rights violations in Myanmar. Failure to do so risks further damaging ASEAN’s reputation as an effective regional body that can meaningfully contribute to a strong and viable community of nations.

    Therefore, we call on ASEAN governments to:

    • Call upon the Myanmar military regime to respect the will of the people as expressed by the results of the general elections of 8 November 2020, to end the state of emergency and to restore the elected civilian government. Consider suspending Myanmar from ASEAN if these calls are not met;
    • Call on the military regime to release all individuals arbitrarily detained, including government officials and politicians, human rights defenders, journalists, civil society members; immediately refrain from the use of excessive force and firearms against protesters and respect people’s right to freedom of expression, association and peaceful assembly;
    • Urge the military regime to allow unfettered Internet access, including on all mobile phone networks and lift all restrictions on access to media sites, social media platforms and refrain from imposing any further restrictions against use of internet;
    • Take proactive steps in providing humanitarian assistance particularly in ethnic and ceasefire areas, including by optimizing the role of ASEAN Coordinating Centre for Humanitarian Assistance (AHA Centre) and ensure there will be no deportation of those fleeing the repression in Myanmar;
    • Deny recognition of the military junta and instead engage with the Committee Representing Pyidaungsu Hluttaw (CRPH) and the National Unity Government as the legitimate government of Myanmar;
    • Urge the Security Council to immediately impose a comprehensive arms embargo on Myanmar and cooperate fully with UN mandates.

    We urge all ASEAN member states to address these issues as a matter of priority and we hope to hear from you on our concerns, as soon as possible.

    Regards,

    David Kode, Advocacy and Campaigns Lead, CIVICUS: World Alliance for Citizen Participation


    1. Arrests, deadly attacks on protest movement escalate despite condemnation, sanctions on Myanmar, CIVICUS Monitor, 9 April 2021, https://monitor.civicus.org/updates/2021/04/09/arrests-deadly-attacks-protest-movement-escalate-despite-condemnation-sanctions-myanmar/

    2.  ‘The Cost of the Coup: Myanmar Edges Toward State Collapse’, International Crisis Group, 1 April 2021, https://www.crisisgroup.org/asia/south-east-asia/myanmar/b167-cost-coup-myanmar-edges-toward-state-collapse

    3.  ‘Myanmar: Hundreds Forcibly Disappeared, Human Rights Watch’, 2 April 2021, https://www.hrw.org/news/2021/04/02/myanmar-hundreds-forcibly-disappeared 

    4.  ‘Deadly violence against protesters by security forces as crackdown escalates in Myanmar’, CIVICUS Monitor, 9 March 2021, https://monitor.civicus.org/updates/2021/03/09/deadly-violence-against-protesters-security-forces-crackdown-escalates-myanmar/

    5.  ‘Myanmar heading towards a ‘full-blown conflict’, UN human rights chief warns’, UN News, 13 April 2021, https://news.un.org/en/story/2021/04/1089612

    6.  ‘UN Human Rights Council adopts resolution on Myanmar’, CIVICUS, 24 March 2021,  https://www.civicus.org/index.php/media-resources/news/united-nations/geneva/5005-un-human-rights-council-adopts-resolution-on-myanmar 

    7.  ‘IIMM: Recipients of illegal orders should contact us’, United Nations, 17 March 2021, https://iimm.un.org/iimm-recipients-of-illegal-orders-should-contact-us/ 

    8.  ‘UN Security Council Press Elements on Myanmar’, United Nations Myanmar, 1 April 2021, https://myanmar.un.org/en/123792-un-security-council-press-elements-myanmar   

    9.  ‘ASEAN leaders to meet over Myanmar, says chair Brunei’, Reuters, 5 April 2021, https://www.theedgemarkets.com/article/asean-leaders-meet-over-myanmar-says-chair-brunei 

     

  • ASEAN: Cambodia Chairmanship Should Thoroughly Address Crisis in Myanmar

    We, the undersigned organisations, call on the Association of Southeast Asian Nations(ASEAN) to increase its effort to address the ongoing human rights crisis in Myanmar, which was triggered by the attempted coup in February 2021. Under the incoming chairmanship of Cambodia in 2022, ASEAN needs to align its endeavours with the international efforts of the United Nations and civil society to hold the military junta accountable for its actions. Failure to meaningfully address the suffering of the people of Myanmar will be the failure of the regional bloc to promote and protect human rights in the region.

    More than seven months since ASEAN agreed on a Five-Point Consensus on Myanmar, there has yet to be significant progress on the implementation of the consensus, or significant action taken by ASEAN to tackle the escalation of violations and number of victims. Analysis from civil society has revealed that the Myanmar military junta, and to some extent ASEAN, have failed to uphold all five points. This is reflected in the increase in attacks since the adoption of the consensus on civilians and members of the National League for Democracy (NLD) and National Unity Government (NUG), which formed as the legitimate government after the November 2020 election. ASEAN’s response to this situation has been slow, which is apparent from the late appointment of the ASEAN Special Envoy, while the commitment to facilitate dialogue between the junta and the NUG or other parties is still unclear. This negligence has resulted in a further crisis and shrinking civics pace in Myanmar, which is having a ripple effect on the region’s human rights situation.

    We appreciate the unprecedented decision made through the Emergency ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ Meeting (EAMM) on 15 October 2021 to exclude the Myanmar junta’s representative of the Myanmar junta from sitting as the country’s representative during the 38th and 39th ASEAN Summit from 26–28 October. While noting the bloc’s decision to invite a “non-political representative” from Myanmar, our stance remains that no seat should be given to the military junta at future ASEAN meetings until the Five-Point Consensus is accomplished or until democracy is restored in Myanmar.

    From the Chairman’s Statement of the 38th and 39th ASEAN Summits issued by Brunei Darussalam,we noted ASEAN’s commitments to find a balance between the non-interference principle and to upholding the rule of law, good governance, the principles of democracy, and constitutional government in addressing the situation in Myanmar. The exclusion of the Myanmar military junta will need to be normalised in the upcoming ASEAN process.

    Moving forward to Cambodia’s ASEAN chairmanship in 2022, the regional bloc must move faster and meaningfully to address the situation in Myanmar. This includes formally engaging the NUG and other parties after excluding the military junta from the latest Summit. Only with the willingness to reassess the non-interference principle and consensus tradition can ASEAN act strategically.

    We also call for ASEAN to focus its efforts outside the regional bloc, by engaging with the United Nations Security Council (UNSC), dialogue partners, and the international community to formulate a time-bound and comprehensive action plan.

    For further information, please contact:

    Putri Kanesia (AJAR)  

    Supporting organisations

    ADN(Asia Democracy Network)
    AJAR (Asia Justice and Rights)
    Amnesty International Indonesia
    CIVICUS: World Alliance for Citizen Participation
    FORUM ASIA
    Kurawal Foundation
    KontraS (the Commission for the Disappeared and Victims of Violence)
    Migrant Care
    SAFEnet(Southeast Asia Freedom of Expression Network)
    SEA Junction

     

     

  • Call on INTERPOL to ban the illegal junta from representing Myanmar at its General Assembly

    To: Kim Jong Yang, INTERPOL President; Jürgen Stock, INTERPOL General Secretary; the INTERPOL Executive Committee and INTERPOL Member Countries

    Dear INTERPOL President Kim Jong Yang, INTERPOL Vice Presidents Benyamina Abbad and Šárka Havránková,INTERPOL General Secretary Jürgen Stock, INTERPOL Executive Committee Delegates Khaled Jameel Al Materyeen, Ahmed Nasser Al-Raisi, Jean-Jacques Colombi, Rogerio Galloro, Robert Guirao Bailén, Destino Pedro, Olushola Kamar Subair, Jannine Van den Berg, and Member Countries.

    We, the undersigned 259 organizations, call on INTERPOL to immediately ban the Myanmar military junta from representing Myanmar as a member of INTERPOL. We demand you ensure that the military junta is excluded from the upcoming 89th INTERPOL General Assembly and all benefits and future cooperation that membership entails.

    According to media reports, the Myanmar military junta’s police force is currently representing Myanmar in INTERPOL and its members, led by the Head of Police and Deputy Home Affairs Minister Lieutenant-General Than Hlaing, will act as delegates for the Myanmar government at the INTERPOL General Assembly. This is a matter of grave concern to us and raises serious credibility issues for INTERPOL itself for the following reasons:

    1. The military junta does not represent the government of Myanmar. The international community has refused to recognise the military junta as the legitimate government of Myanmar and has prevented members of the military junta from participating in international forums including the UN General Assembly, the UN Climate Change Conference (COP26) and the ASEAN Summit.
    2. The attempted coup on 1 February 2021, under the leadership of Senior General Min Aung Hlaing by violent means violated the Myanmar Constitution, international law and the principle of rule of law.
    3. The head of the UN Independent Investigative Mechanism for Myanmar recently stated that since the attempted coup the Myanmar military junta’s widespread and systematic attack on the civilian population amounts to crimes against humanity.
    4. The Special Advisory Council for Myanmar, composed of international experts including former members of the UN Independent International Fact-Finding Mission on Myanmar and a former Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Myanmar, has recently argued that, in addition to crimes against humanity, the Myanmar military is engaging in terrorism and should be classified as a terrorist organization.
    5. Lt. General Than Hlaing, as the junta’s Deputy Minister of Home Affairs and Chief of Police, is directly responsible for decision making concerning repressive policies and violent actions committed by police against peaceful demonstrators and is therefore responsible for serious human rights violations in Myanmar/Burma.
    6. For this and other reasons, Lt. General Than Hlaing has been placed by the European Union under a travel ban and asset freeze as of 3 March 2021.
    7. Targeted sanctions against Lt. General Than Hlaing also remain in place by the US, UK, and Canada (overview with links here).
    8. Lt General Than Hlaing has been appointed to lead operations in Chin State. Escalating military attacks against civilians there and in Sagaing and Magwe Regions have caused rights groups to draw similarities to “clearance operations” used to violently oppress the ethnic Rohingya population – now at issue in the International Criminal Court and International Court of Justice

    INTERPOL’s vision is to connect police for a “safer world” and to support security for the world’s citizens. The people of Myanmar are in dire need of safety and security. The single biggest threat to their security is the Myanmar military junta, who is attempting to represent Myanmar in INTERPOL and use the General Assembly as a platform for political gain and international legitimacy. This will embolden the Myanmar military to continue to commit international crimes with blanket impunity.

    We note that countering the threat of terrorism is the first of INTERPOL’s seven Global Policing Goals, and INTERPOL has a responsibility to counter and disrupt terrorism wherever it occurs, including in Myanmar.

    We draw your attention to condemnation by the UN Security Council regarding the junta following the February 2021 coup, including a November 2021 statement by the Council’s President Juan Ramón de la Fuente Ramírez citing “deep concern at further recent violence across Myanmar”.

    We note that upholding human rights is central to INTERPOL’s mandate. We implore you to meet the commitment to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights stated in Article 2 of the Constitution of the ICPO-INTERPOL. Recognizing the Myanmar military junta, responsible for systemic and grave human rights violations would be a clear violation of this article.

    We appeal to you to adhere to INTERPOL’s commitment to political neutrality stated in Article 3 of the INTERPOL Constitution. Awarding an unlawful military junta that lacks domestic and international recognition with legitimacy would violate this article, and amount to a partisan intervention that would embolden the military to continue to commit international crimes with total impunity.

    Instead of legitimizing the military junta through INTERPOL membership, we appeal to you to uphold international law by supporting the ongoing investigation at the International Criminal Court concerning crimes of genocide against the Rohingya, and future investigations, to bring all perpetrators of Myanmar atrocities to account. The Myanmar military must be recognized as a terrorist organization, not recognized as representatives of the Myanmar people who are the very victims of the junta’s daily barrage of violence that INTERPOL aims to protect.

    We therefore call on INTERPOL to:

    • Ban the Myanmar military junta from INTERPOL, including the 89th General Assembly.
    • Support efforts to bring Senior Gen Min Aung Hlaing, Lt Gen Than Hlaing and all other perpetrators of atrocity crimes to justice by identifying and arresting suspects.
    • Take all measures available to prevent the Myanmar military junta’s continued acts of terrorism by disrupting terrorism movement and tracing and disrupting their international revenue and arms supply networks.

    At this fragile and crucial time in Myanmar, INTERPOL and their member countries must act in the interests of the safety and security of Myanmar people, victims and survivors of crime and in accordance with international law and norms.

    -----

    For more information, please contact:

    Khin Ohmar, Progressive Voice,

    Veronica Pedrosa, ASEAN Parliamentarians for Human Rights,

    Annie Boyajian, Freedom House,

    Signed by:

    1. 8888 Generation (New Zealand)
    2. Action Committee for Democracy Development
    3. Activists Group for Human Rights ‘BARAM’
    4. Albany Karen Community, Albany
    5. All Arakan Students’ and Youths’ Congress
    6. All Burma Democratic Face in New Zealand
    7. ALL FOR LITTLE ONE
    8. Alliance for Gender Inclusion in Peace Process (AGIPP)
    9. Alternative Solutions for Rural Communities (ASORCOM)
    10. ALTSEAN-Burma
    11. Arizona Kachin Community
    12. ASEAN Parliamentarians for Human Rights – APHR
    13. Asia Pacific Solidarity Coalition (APSOC)
    14. Asian Dignity Initiative
    15. Assistance Association for Political Prisoners
    16. Association of Human Rights Defenders and Promoters
    17. Athan – Freedom of Expression Activist Organization
    18. Auckland Kachin Community NZ
    19. Auckland Zomi Community
    20. B-Farm
    21. Blood Money Campaign
    22. Boat People SOS
    23. Burma Action Ireland
    24. Burma Campaign UK
    25. Burma Human Rights Network
    26. Burma Rohingya Organisation UK
    27. Burmese Relief Center - Japan
    28. Burmese Rohingya Welfare Organisation New Zealand
    29. Burmese Women’s Union
    30. Calgary Karen Community Association (CKCA)
    31. California Kachin Community
    32. Campaign for a New Myanmar
    33. Center for Alliance of Labor and Human Rights Committee (CENTRAL)
    34. Chin Community of Auckland
    35. CHRF
    36. Christian Solidarity Worldwide
    37. Citizen of Burma Award-New Zealand
    38. CIVICUS: World Alliance for Citizen Participation
    39. Coalition to Abolish Modern-day Slavery in Asia (CAMSA)
    40. Committee for Free and Fair Elections in Cambodia (COMFREL)
    41. Committee for Religions Freedom in Vietnam
    42. COVIL
    43. CRPH & NUG Supporters Austria
    44. CRPH & NUG Supporters Ireland
    45. CRPH Funding Ireland
    46. Dallas Kachin Community
    47. DANA
    48. Decency & Clarity
    49. DEEKU-Karenni Community of Amarillo, TX
    50. Democracy for Myanmar - Working Group (NZ)
    51. Democracy, Peace and Women’s Organization – DPW
    52. DONEUIDONG
    53. Dongjadong Sarangbang
    54. Edmonton Karen Community Youth Organization
    55. Education Community Woorijari Social Cooperation
    56. Equality Myanmar
    57. European Karen Network
    58. Federal Myanmar Benevolence Group (NZ)
    59. Federation of General Workers Myanmar
    60. Federation of Workers' Union of the Burmese Citizen in Japan
    61. Freedom House
    62. Future Light Center
    63. Future Thanlwin
    64. Gangbuk Housing Welfare Center
    65. Gender and Development for Cambodia (GADC)
    66. Gender Equality Network
    67. Georgia Kachin Community
    68. Global Movement for Myanmar Democracy (GM4MD)
    69. Global Myanmar Spring Revolution
    70. Gwangju Asia sisterhood
    71. Gyeonggi Association of Self-Sufficiency Promotion Center
    72. HANBARAGI
    73. Houston Kachin Community
    74. Human Rights Foundation of Monland
    75. Incorporated Organization Shilcheon Bulgyo
    76. Independent Trade Union Federation (INTUFE)
    77. Info Birmanie
    78. Initiatives for International Dialogue
    79. International Campaign for the Rohingya
    80. International Child Rights Center
    81. International Karen Organisation
    82. International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC)
    83. Iowa Kachin Community
    84. Jangsuwon
    85. JCMK
    86. JPIC of Sisters of Charity of Seton Hill
    87. Junta Denouncing Committee Korea
    88. Justice For Myanmar
    89. Kachin American Community (Portland – Vancouver)
    90. Kachin Community of Indiana
    91. Kachin Community of USA
    92. Kachin Gender Star Group
    93. Kachin Women’s Association Thailand
    94. Kaesong Tourism Center
    95. Kansas Karenni community, KS
    96. Karen American Association of Milwaukee, WI
    97. Karen Association of Huron, SD
    98. Karen Community of Akron, OH
    99. Karen Community of Canada (KCC)
    100. Karen Community of Czech Republic
    101. Karen Community of Finland
    102. Karen Community of Hamilton
    103. Karen Community of Iowa, IA
    104. Karen Community of Ireland
    105. Karen Community of Israel
    106. Karen Community of Kansas City
    107. Karen Community of Kitchener & Waterloo
    108. Karen Community of Leamington K
    109. Karen Community of Lethbridge
    110. Karen Community of London
    111. Karen Community of Minnesota, MN
    112. Karen Community of North Carolina
    113. Karen Community of Ottawa
    114. Karen Community of Regina
    115. Karen Community of Saskatoon
    116. Karen Community of Thunderbay
    117. Karen Community of Toronto
    118. Karen Community of Windsor
    119. Karen Community of Winnipeg
    120. Karen Community Society of British Columbia (KCSBC)
    121. Karen Human Rights Group
    122. Karen Organization of America
    123. Karen Organization of Illinois, IL
    124. Karen Thai Group
    125. Karen Women’s Organization
    126. Karen Youth Education Pathways
    127. Karen Youth Networks
    128. Karen Youth of Norway
    129. Karen Youth of Toronto
    130. Karen Youth Organization
    131. Karenni Civil Society Network
    132. Karenni Community of Arizona, AZ
    133. Karenni Community of Arkensas, AK
    134. Karenni Community of Austin, TX
    135. Karenni Community of Bowling Green, KY
    136. Karenni Community of Buffalo, NY
    137. Karenni Community of Chicago, IL
    138. Karenni Community of Colorado, CO
    139. Karenni Community of Dallas, TX
    140. Karenni community of Des Moines, IA
    141. Karenni Community of Florida, FL
    142. Karenni Community of Fort Worth, TX
    143. Karenni Community of Georgia, GA
    144. Karenni Community of Houston, TX
    145. Karenni Community of Idaho, ID
    146. Karenni Community of Indianapolis, IN
    147. Karenni Community of Massachusetts, MA
    148. Karenni Community of Michigan, MI
    149. Karenni Community of Minnesota, MN
    150. Karenni Community of Missouri, MO
    151. Karenni Community of North Carolina, NC
    152. Karenni Community of Portland, OR
    153. Karenni Community of Rockford, IL
    154. Karenni Community of San Antonio, TX
    155. Karenni Community of Sioux Falls, SD
    156. Karenni Community of Utah, UT
    157. Karenni Community of Utica, NY
    158. Karenni Community of Washington, WA
    159. Karenni Community of Wisconsin, WI
    160. Karenni Human Rights Group
    161. Karenni National Women’s Organization
    162. Karenni Society New Zealand
    163. Karenni Society of Omaha, NE
    164. Karenni-American Association
    165. Keng Tung Youth
    166. Kentucky Kachin Community
    167. Kijamii Table
    168. Kim Wan Sik (MR)
    169. Korea Christian Solidarity for Democracy and Human Rights in Myanmar
    170. Korea Karen Organization
    171. Korea Karen Youth Organization
    172. Korea Women's Associations United (KWAU)
    173. Korean House for International Solidarity
    174. Korean Solidarity for Overseas Community Organization
    175. Let’s Help Each Other
    176. Louisiana Kachin Community
    177. Maryland Kachin Community
    178. May18 Seoul Memorial Society
    179. Metta Campaign Mandalay
    180. Michigan Kachin Community
    181. Migrant Health Association in Korea WeFriends
    182. Milk Tea Alliance (Friend For Myanmar)
    183. MINBYUN - Lawyers for a Democratic Society International Solidarity Committee
    184. Minnesota Kachin Community
    185. Myanmar Accountability Project
    186. MYANMAR Action Supporters
    187. Myanmar Community Austria
    188. Myanmar Democratic Force (Denmark)
    189. Myanmar Engineers - New Zealand
    190. Myanmar Family Community in Ireland
    191. Myanmar Gonye (New Zealand)
    192. Myanmar People Alliance (Shan State)
    193. Myanmar Students Organization
    194. Myanmar Students' Union in New Zealand
    195. National Clergy Conference for Justice and Peace
    196. NeT Organization
    197. Network for Advocacy Action
    198. Network for Human Rights Documentation Burma (ND-Burma)
    199. Neutinamu
    200. New Bodhisattva Network
    201. New York Kachin Community
    202. New Zealand Doctors for NUG
    203. New Zealand Karen Association
    204. New Zealand Zo Community Inc.
    205. No Business With Genocide
    206. North Carolina Kachin Community
    207. NUG & CRPH Supporter Denmark
    208. Nyan Lynn Thit Analytica
    209. Olive Organization
    210. Omaha Kachin Community
    211. Organization of Social Welfare Service Bokumjari
    212. Oversea Karen Organization Japan
    213. Overseas Mon Association. New Zealand
    214. Pa-O Youth Organization
    215. Pennsylvania Kachin Community
    216. People’s Initiatives for Development Alternatives
    217. People's Solidarity for Participatory Democracy (PSPD)
    218. Progressive 3.0
    219. Progressive Korea
    220. Progressive Voice
    221. Pyeongchang
    222. Pyithu Gonye (New Zealand)
    223. RCSD/FSS Chiang Mai University
    224. Rvwang Community Association New Zealand
    225. SAMYANG CITIZENS NETWORK
    226. SARANGBANG Group for Human Rights
    227. Save and Care Organization for Ethnic Women at Border Areas
    228. Save Myanmar Fundraising Group (New Zealand)
    229. Shan Community (New Zealand)
    230. Shan MATA
    231. Sisters 2 Sisters
    232. Sitt Nyein Pann Foundation
    233. Social Action for Community and Development (SACD)
    234. Solidarity for Another World
    235. South Carolina Kachin Community
    236. Support Group for Democracy in Myanmar (Netherlands)
    237. Supporters group for migrant workers in Korea
    238. Suwon Migrants Center
    239. Swedish Burma Committee
    240. Synergy – Social Harmony Organization
    241. Ta’ang Women’s Organization
    242. Ta'ang Legal Aid
    243. Tanintharyi Women Network
    244. Tennessee Kachin Community
    245. The Asian Forum for Human Rights and Development (FORUM-ASIA)
    246. The People Center for Development and Peace (PDP-Center)
    247. Tongirinreoygeo
    248. Union of Karenni State Youth
    249. US Campaign for Burma
    250. Utica Karen Community, NY
    251. Virginia Kachin Community
    252. Washington Kachin Community
    253. West Virginia Kachin Community
    254. With Gilbut Welfare Foundation
    255. Women Advocacy Coalition – Myanmar (WAC-M)
    256. Women’s League of Burma
    257. Women’s Peace Network
    258. Youth of Kim Dae-jung Foundation
    259. Youth Resource Development Program (YRDP)

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

     

  • Cinq pays sur la liste de surveillance de CIVICUS présentés au Nations Unies

     

    Déclaration lue au cours de la 46ème session du Conseil des droits de l’homme des Nations Unies

    Le Conseil a identifié des cas d’entraves aux libertés fondamentales comme le signe avant-coureur d’une crise imminente des droits humains. Cinq pays ont été mis en évidence dans la dernière liste de surveillance de CIVICUS, qui attire l’attention sur un groupe de pays où l’on constate un recul rapide dans le respect de l’espace civique.

    Il s’agit notamment du Myanmar, où un coup d’État militaire a entraîné la mort d’au moins 50 manifestants et l’arrestation arbitraire de plus d’un millier de militants, de manifestants et de responsables politiques, tandis que des journalistes sont pris pour cible quotidiennement.

    Au Nicaragua, les manifestations ont systématiquement été réprimées. Les défenseurs des droits humains, les journalistes et les opposants politiques présumés sont victimes de répression pénale et de harcèlement, et une série de lois répressives adoptées récemment entrave encore davantage l’espace civique.

    En Polania, les autorités et les groupes d’extrême droite ont fait un usage excessif de la force lors des mois de manifestations déclenchées par l’interdiction presque totale de l’avortement. Des lois et des réformes qui compromettent l’indépendance de la justice et l’État de droit ont été adoptées depuis 2015, et la liberté des médias est menacée.

    En Russie, des attaques de grande ampleur ont eu lieu contre les rassemblements pacifiques et les journalistes lors des grandes manifestations pacifiques dans tout le pays. Plus de 10 000 manifestants ont été arrêtés.

    Au Togo, où l’espace civique recule depuis 2017, l’arrestation d’une journaliste et de syndicalistes et la fermeture d’un journal sont des exemples récents qui illustrent la dégradation des libertés civiques.

    Le Conseil ne peut pas remplir ses mandats de protection ou de prévention s’il n’est pas prêt à prendre des mesures concrètes face à des situations qui présentent de tels signes avant-coureurs. Nous demandons au Conseil de procéder à un examen plus approfondi de la situation au Myanmar et au Nicaragua au cours de cette session, et d’accorder toute l’attention nécessaire à la Pologne, à la Russie et au Togo afin d’éviter que la situation sur le terrain de ces pays ne se détériore encore davantage. 

    Evaluation de l'espace civique - CIVICUS Monitor
    Ouvert Rétréci Obstrué Réprimé Fermé
     

     

     

  • CIVICUS condemns conviction of Reuters journalists on trial in Myanmar

    Global civil society alliance, CIVICUS, believes the conviction of two journalists employed by global news agency, Reuters, who have been on trial in Myanmar is a dark day for press freedom in Myanmar. The two journalists have been sentenced to seven years imprisonment.

    Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo were arrested on December 12, 2017 under the country’s colonial-era Official Secrets Act. The reporters, who were facing up to 14 years imprisonment if convicted, were arrested after being handed documents by police officers during a dinner meeting, that turned out to be secret government documents relating to Myanmar’s western Rakhine state and security forces, according to the country’s Information Ministry.

    At the time of their arrest, the journalists, who both pleaded “not guilty” to charges, had been investigating the killing of 10 Rohingya Muslims in Inn Din village in Rakhine during a brutal military crackdown in that state against the Rohingya minority that began last August. During the trial, a police captain, admitted in court that a senior officer had ordered his subordinates to “trap” the journalists by handing them the classified documents. He was subsequently sentenced to a one-year prison term.

    In recent months, there have been continued attacks on fundamental freedoms in Myanmar with dozens being arrested and charged for peaceful protests or for exercising their right to freedom of expression.

    “We believe the verdict in this trial is a travesty of justice and sends a chilling message to all journalists in the country,” said Clementine de Montjoye, Advocacy and Campaigns Officer at CIVICUS:

    “Prosecutions on spurious grounds serve to intimidate local journalists and activists, and this trial is representative of the Myanmar government’s repeated attempts to cover up its actions,” said de Montjove.

    “Given the state-sponsored atrocities being committed in Myanmar today, the government’s crackdown on independent investigations and dissent is hardly surprising”.

    In an End of Mission report issued in July, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Myanmar, Yanghee Lee, said “the democratic space in Myanmar continues to sharply deteriorate”. Her report also highlighted concerns about the use of repressive laws to suppress political dissidents, youth, human rights defenders and activists and the arrest of demonstrators around the country.

    The CIVICUS Monitor, an online platform that tracks threats to civil society across the globe, has rated civic space in Myanmar as repressed. CIVICUS stands in solidarity with Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo and all Myanmars who work to promote democracy and the protection of fundamental freedoms.

    ENDS.

    For more information, contact:

    Clementine de Montjoye

     

     

     

  • Country recommendations for UN Universal Periodic Review on Human Rights

    All UN member states have their human rights records reviewed every 4.5 years.  CIVICUS  and partners make UN Universal Periodic Review submissions on civil society space in Australia, Lebanon, Mauritania, Myanmar, Nepal, Oman, and Rwanda

    CIVICUS and its partners have made joint and stand-alone UN Universal Periodic Review (UPR) submissions on 7 countries in advance of the 37th UPR session (January 2021). The submissions examine the state of civil society in each country, including the promotion and protection of the rights to freedom of association, peaceful assembly and expression and the environment for human rights defenders. We further provide an assessment of the States’ domestic implementation of civic space recommendations received during the 2nd UPR cycle over 4 years ago and provide a number of targeted follow-up recommendations.

    AustraliaThis submission raises alarm over the increasing criminalisation of climate and environmental movements and defenders, including Indigenous peoples, scientists, student strikers and environmental organisations, in the wake of Australia’s recent bushfires. It further discusses the unwarranted restrictions on media freedoms due, in large part, to an increase in police raids on independent media outlets. Moreover, its expresses concern over recent attempts to silence whistle-blowers who reveal government wrongdoing under the Intelligence Services Act.

    Lebanon In its submission CIVICUS, the Gulf Centre for Human Rights, International Media Support (IMS), Social Media Exchange (SMEX) examine how the  government has persistently failed to address the brutal and violent dispersal of peaceful protests, the arrest and prosecution of journalists and protesters and restrictions on the activities of CSOs advocating for women’s and LGBTQI+ rights. It also discusses legal and extra-legal restrictions on the freedom of association and, in particular, the systematic targeting of associations and activities by the LGBTQI+ community. Moreover, it assesses the continued deterioration of the freedom of expression, as highlighted by the increase in judicial proceedings against media outlets critical of the authorities, threats to digital rights, raids and attacks by security forces and sometimes by members of the public on media outlets.

    Mauritania (FR) CIVICUS and Réseau Ouest-Africain des Défenseurs des Droits Humains/ West African Human Rights Defenders Network (ROADDH / WAHRDN) demonstrates that since its last review, the Government of Mauritania has not implemented any of the recommendations relating to civic space. Instead, civic space in Mauritania remains repressed, and civil society actors, especially those working on anti-slavery campaigns and seeking to end racial and ethnic discrimination are frequently targeted and intimidated by the state. Civil society actors face legal and practical barriers to exercising their rights to association and peacefully assembly, which is hampered by the 1964 Law on Associations and Law No. 73-008 on Public Assemblies.

    Myanmar The submission by CIVICUS, Free Expression Myanmar and Asia Democracy Network highlights the use of 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. It also documents the restrictions on peaceful protests in law and practice, the arbitrary arrest and prosecution of protesters and the use of excessive force and firearms to disperse protests against government policies and land disputes with businesses.

    NepalCIVICUS and Freedom Forum examine howrepressive laws, including amendments made to Nepal’s criminal code, have been used to limit the work of independent CSOs and suppress the freedom of expression. The submission further discusses how the ongoing attacks against journalists and the suppression of peaceful assembly continues to undermine civil space in the country. An evaluation of a range of legal sources and human rights documentation addressed in this submission demonstrate that the Government of Nepal has not implemented any of the recommendations relating to civic space during its previous UPR examination.

    OmanThe Omani Association for Human Rights, Gulf Centre for Human Rights and CIVICUS highlight the closure of civic space in Oman and the use of restrictive legislation to target human rights defenders, journalists and writers and civil society organisations.  We outline concerns over the forced closure of human rights organisations, the shutting down of independent newspapers and the banning of books and other publications.  Human rights defenders and journalists are often subjected to arbitrary arrests and judicial persecution for their reporting and human rights activities. Due to these restrictions, several human rights defenders and their families have fled into exile.  Freedom of peaceful assembly is also severely restricted as provisions in the Penal Code are used to pre-empt and prevent protests and stop those that actually take place. 

    RwandaThe submission byCIVICUS and DefendDefenders (EHAHRDP) outlines serious concerns related to the unabated repression of the work of human rights defenders, civil society activists and journalists. The submission explores how restrictions on the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly, association, expression and access to information have been codified and willfully misapplied under Law No. 68/2018  (on assembly), Law N0 04/12 (on association and activities of CSOs), and the Law on Prevention and Punishment of Cybercrimes (expression and access to information). The Submission makes a number of action-oriented recommendations in accordance with the rights enshrined in the Rwandan Constitution, the ICCPR, the UN Declaration on Human Rights Defenders and Human Rights Council resolutions 22/6, 27/5 and 27/31. 

    See all of our UPR submissions here.


    Country civic space ratings from the CIVICUS Monitor: 

    AustraliaLebanon, MauritaniaMyanmar, NepalOman, Rwanda

    OPEN NARROWED OBSTRUCTED  REPRESSED CLOSED

     

     

  • El Reino Unido responde a las preguntas realizadas por los miembros de CIVICUS al Consejo de Seguridad

    En el marco de sus consultas con la sociedad civil durante su presidencia del Consejo de Seguridad del mes de agosto, la Misión Permanente del Reino Unido de Gran Bretaña e Irlanda del Norte ante las Naciones Unidas respondió a las preguntas presentadas por los miembros de CIVICUS sobre la situación de seguridad en la República Democrática del Congo, Eritrea, Etiopía, Gaza y Birmania.


    La sociedad civil ocupa un papel importante en los programas del Consejo de Seguridad y CIVICUS desea agradecer al Reino Unido y a todos los miembros del Consejo de Seguridad por su compromiso constante con la participación de la sociedad civil en el trabajo del Consejo.

    El Consejo de Seguridad sigue de cerca la situación en la República Democrática del Congo (RDC).  En la resolución 2409 solicitamos al Secretario General que se nos proporcionaran informes cada treinta días.  El Consejo también aborda con frecuencia la situación de la RDC. El Consejo de Seguridad insiste en la importancia de que se celebren elecciones pacíficas, creíbles, inclusivas y oportunas el 23 de diciembre de 2018, en conformidad con el calendario electoral, que conduzcan a un traspaso pacífico del poder, según las disposiciones de la Constitución congoleña.  El Consejo de Seguridad también destaca la importancia de proteger a los civiles, incluso mediante el mandato de la MONUSCO, para la cual su protección es una prioridad estratégica. Durante la presidencia británica tuvo lugar una sesión informativa del Consejo de Seguridad sobre la RDC centrada en las próximas elecciones. Aquí puede consultarse la declaración del embajador.
     
    El Consejo de Seguridad publicó una comunicado sobre la firma de la Declaración conjunta de paz y amistad entre Eritrea y Etiopía del 9 de julio de 2018

    El OOPS fue creado por mandato de la Asamblea General de las Naciones Unidas.  La posibilidad de que se suspendan sus servicios debido al actual déficit financiero del OOPS es motivo de gran preocupación para los miembros del Consejo de Seguridad, como así se expresó durante las consultas del Consejo celebradas el 22 de agosto sobre la situación en Oriente Medio.

    El Reino Unido sigue firmemente comprometido con el OOPS y con los refugiados palestinos de todo Oriente Medio. Ante las crecientes presiones financieras, el Reino Unido ha aportado alrededor de 60 millones de dólares americanos en 2018. Instamos a otros países a que proporcionen financiación adicional y a que efectúen desembolsos periódicos para garantizar que el OOPS siga llevando acabo su labor esencial.

    El Consejo de Seguridad sigue de cerca y con preocupación la situación en Gaza, por ejemplo, a través de las reuniones informativas periódicas como la que la Secretaria General Adjunta, Rosemary DiCarlo, ofreció ante el Consejo el 22 de agosto.
     
    El principal objetivo a largo plazo del Reino Unido es el retorno seguro, voluntario y digno a Rakáin, bajo supervisión internacional, del mayor número posible de refugiados rohinyás que se encuentran actualmente en Bangladés. En la actualidad, consideramos que las condiciones no son las adecuadas para el regreso de los refugiados. Apoyaremos a Birmania para que así lo haga, pero necesita realizar mejoras tangibles sobre el terreno. De manera más inmediata, Birmania debería permitir el acceso sin trabas de la ONU al norte de Rakáin.

    El Reino Unido ha acogido con satisfacción el anuncio de Birmania de crear una comisión de investigación sobre la violencia en Rakáin. Ahora es esencial que el gobierno birmano establezca las condiciones para que dicha investigación sea creíble, transparente e imparcial. Aún esperamos la decisión de la CPI con el fin de saber si tiene jurisdicción sobre las deportaciones de rohinyás a Bangladés (país signatario del Estatuto de Roma).
     
    Este mes, los miembros de CIVICUS preguntaron por las libertades cívicas en Colombia, la retirada de las tropas de la UNAMID de Darfur, la inseguridad alimentaria en el Sahel, la reubicación de la embajada de los Estados Unidos en Jerusalén, el deterioro del espacio cívico en Uganda, el caso de Omar Al Bashir en la Corte Penal Internacional y la amenaza mundial que supone la ciberdelincuencia.

    Estas preguntas y respuestas son el resultado de un llamamiento mensual a los miembros de CIVICUS para que envíen sus preguntas al presidente del Consejo de Seguridad de la ONU. Esta es una oportunidad para que los miembros entren en contacto con un importante foro internacional de toma de decisiones. El personal de CIVICUS plantea las preguntas en nombre de los miembros de CIVICUS durante el informe mensual del presidente. ¡Hágase socio de CIVICUS para mantenerse informado y participar en esta acción!

     

  • Human Rights Council: Restrictions on civil society will curtail any chance of building back better

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

    Thank you, Madame President; High Commissioner.

    We welcome your update and strongly agree that recovering better requires ensuring participation for all. In this very difficult year, we are encouraged that civic activism has continued as people have mobilised to demand their rights.

    But across the world, civil society has been impeded in its work.  The CIVICUS Monitor shows that in the context of COVID-19 measures, protest rights have been violated and restrictions on freedom of expression continue as states enact overly broad emergency legislation that limits human rights.

    We reiterate that restrictions on civil society will curtail any chance of building back better. States should indeed be investing in protecting and promoting a free and independent civil society at this crucial time.

    The Council has the opportunity to act immediately on a number of situations where civic space is being threatened. In Sri Lanka, attacks against civil society are compounding grave failures of accountability. In Nicaragua, where ahead of elections, restrictions on civic space and expressions of dissent are likely to escalate. Myanmar, where we are inspired by the courage of people who risk lives and freedom every day to protest the coup, who continue to fear violent crackdown on dissenting voices. In India, where the government has continued its persecution of human rights defenders, student leaders, journalists and other critics, including through restrictive laws, prolonged pre-trial detention and excessive force perpetrated against protesters. 

    We call on the Council this Session to take measures to support civil society by acting now, on the situations brought before it. Situations which require immediate action.

     

     

  • Joint Call for a Global Arms Embargo on Myanmar

    Over 130 Organisations write an open letter to the UN Security Council and individual UN Member States to urgently institute a coordinated global arms embargo on Myanmar in response to the military coup.

    We, the undersigned organizations, call on the United Nations Security Council and UN member states to urgently institute a coordinated, global arms embargo on Myanmar in response to the February 1, 2021 military coup that has deprived the people of Myanmar of the right to democratically elect their government. Our concerns are heightened by ongoing violations of human rights and the security forces’ history of grave abuses against peaceful critics of military rule, as well as against the Rohingya and other ethnic minority groups.

    Under the commander-in-chief, Sr. Gen. Min Aung Hlaing, the Myanmar military has detained the elected civilian leaders of the country, nullified the results of the November 2020 democratic elections, and installed a junta, the State Administration Council, under a manufactured “state of emergency.” Since February 1, the junta has increasingly used excessive and at times lethal force at demonstrations; threatened and arbitrarily detained activists, journalists, students, and civil servants; and imposed rolling internet shutdowns that put lives at risk.

    Days after the coup, UN Secretary-General António Guterres stated, “We will do everything we can to mobilize all the key actors and international community to put enough pressure on Myanmar to make sure that this coup fails.” The UN special rapporteur on Myanmar has called for targeted UN sanctions on the military and an arms embargo, while the deputy high commissioner for human rights has voiced support for targeted UN sanctions on the coup leaders.

    In that spirit, we urge the Security Council to immediately impose a comprehensive arms embargo on Myanmar. Such a resolution should bar the direct and indirect supply, sale, or transfer of all weapons, munitions, and other military-related equipment, including dual-use goods such as vehicles and communications and surveillance equipment, as well as the provision of training, intelligence, and other military assistance. The embargo should be accompanied by robust monitoring and enforcement mechanisms.

    Any sale or transfer of military-related equipment to Myanmar could provide the means to further repress the people of Myanmar in violation of international humanitarian and human rights law.

    Until the Council acts, individual UN member states should adopt measures at the national and regional levels to block sales and other transfers of weapons and materiel to Myanmar, with the goal of extending an arms embargo to as close to a global scale as possible. 

    For decades, the Security Council’s response to crimes by the Myanmar security forces has been inadequate, emboldening the military to continue committing abuses without fear of serious consequences. The current crisis demands a change in course.

    On February 4, the Security Council spoke with a single voice to demand the release of all those arbitrarily detained and the protection of the country’s democratic institutions. Council members should use that newfound consensus to take swift and substantive action. An arms embargo would be the centerpiece of a global effort to shield the people of Myanmar from a return to abusive and autocratic rule.

    The time to act is now.

    Signatories

    Access Now
    Advocacy Forum-Nepal
    AFL-CIO
    All Arakan Students’ and Youths’ Congress
    Arakan Information Center 
    Arakan Rivers Network
    Arakan Rohingya Society for Peace and Human Rights
    ARTICLE 19
    ASEAN Parliamentarians for Human Rights
    Asia and Pacific Alliance of YMCAs
    Asia Democracy Network
    Asia Justice and Rights (AJAR)
    Asian Forum for Human Rights and Development (FORUM-ASIA)
    Asian Human Rights Commission
    Asian Migrant Centre
    Asian Network for Free Elections (ANFREL)
    Asian Resource Foundation
    Association of Human Rights Defenders and Promoters
    Association of Women for Awareness and Motivation (AWAM)
    Australian Centre for International Justice
    Australian Lawyers for Human Rights
    BALAOD Mindanaw
    Bir Duino Kyrgyzstan
    Brotherhood For Democracy (BFD)
    Burma Campaign UK
    Burma Human Rights Network (BHRN)
    Burmese Rohingya Association in Japan
    Burmese Rohingya Community in Australia
    Bytes For All
    Cambodian Center for Human Rights (CCHR)
    Cambodian Food And Service Workers Federation (CFSWF)
    Cambodian Human Rights and Development Association (ADHOC)
    Cambodian League for the Promotion and Defense of Human Rights (LICADHO)
    Canadian Rohingya Development Initiative
    Center for Alliance of Labor and Human Rights (CENTRAL)
    Center for Peace Education, Miriam College
    Center for Social Integrity
    Centre for Human Rights and Development
    Centre for Peace and Justice, Brac University
    CIVICUS: World Alliance for Citizen Participation
    Climate Change Working Group-Myanmar
    Colorful Girls
    Community Resource Centre Foundation (CRC)
    Cross Cultural Foundation 
    CSW
    Dawei Pro Bono Lawyer Network 
    Democracy, Peace and Women Organization
    DHEWA (Development for Health, Education, Work, and Awareness) Welfare Society
    Equality Myanmar
    Equitable Cambodia
    European Rohingya Council
    Federal Association of Vietnamese Refugees in the Federal Republic of Germany
    Fortify Rights
    Free Rohingya Coalition
    Global Centre for the Responsibility to Protect
    Global Justice Center
    Global Witness
    Htoi Gender and Development Foundation
    Human Rights First
    Human Rights Foundation of Monland 
    Human Rights Law Centre
    Human Rights Office-Sri Lanka
    Human Rights Watch
    Human Rights Without Frontiers
    Info Birmanie
    Innovation for Change Network 
    Institute for Asian Democracy
    Institute on Statelessness and Inclusion
    International Campaign for the Rohingya
    International Movement of Catholic Students (IMCS), Asia Pacific
    International NGO Forum on Indonesian Development (INFID)
    International Rehabilitation Council for Torture Victims (IRCT)
    Jewish Alliance of Concern Over Burma
    Jubilee Australia
    Justice for All/Burma Task Force
    Justice for Myanmar
    Kachin State Women’s Network
    Karapatan Alliance Philippines
    Karen Human Rights Group
    KontraS Aceh
    Loka Ahlinn Social Development Organization 
    Maldivian Democracy Network (MDN)
    MAP Foundation
    Medical Association for Prevention of War (Australia)
    Mekong Migration Network
    Mennonite Central Committee
    MeSheWe
    Mother Nature Cambodia
    Myanmar Human Rights Alliances Network (MHRAN)
    National Campaign for Sustainable Development Nepal
    Never Again Coalition
    New School for Democracy
    No Business With Genocide
    Nonviolence International
    Odhikar
    Olof Palme International Center
    OutRight Action International
    PAX
    Pax Christi Aotearoa New Zealand
    Pax Christi Australia
    Pax Christi International
    Pax Christi Korea
    Pax Christi Philippines
    People’s Empowerment Foundation
    People’s Watch
    Philippine Alliance of Human Rights Advocates (PAHRA)
    Progressive Voice
    Prosecute; don’t perpetrate
    Public Association “Dignity”
    Pusat KOMAS
    Refugees International
    Restless Beings
    Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights
    Rohingya Association of Canada
    Rohingya Human Rights Initiative
    Rohingya Today
    Rohingya Women Education Initiative
    Rohingya Youth for Legal Action 
    Smile Foundation
    Swedish Burma Committee
    Taiwan Association for Human Rights
    Taiwan Forever Association (台灣永社)
    Tampadipa Institute
    The Arakan Project
    The May 18 Memorial Foundation
    The PLAN: Public Legal Aid Network
    The Swedish Rohingya Association 
    Uniting Church in Australia, Synod of Victoria and Tasmania
    US Campaign for Burma
    Viet Tan
    Vietnamese Women for Human Rights
    Voice of Rohingya 
    Win Without War
    World Federalist Movement/Institute for Global Policy
    World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT)
    YMCA Mandalay
    Youth Resource Development Program (YRDP)


    Civic space in Myanmar is rated "Repressed" by the CIVCICUS Monitor

     

     

  • Joint call for Human Rights Council Special Session on Myanmar

    Joint statement by human rights organisations calling UN Human Rights Council to convene a Special Session on Myanmar.

    We, the undersigned human rights organisations, are deeply concerned by the human rights situation in Myanmar after the military seized power and immediately cracked down on the rights to freedom of expression, association and assembly and urge the United Nations Human Rights Council to take immediate action.

     

  • Joint statement on critical topics from 37th Session of the UN Human Rights Council

    Our organisations welcome the adoption of the resolution on the promotion and protection of human rights and the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, particularly in reaffirming that all approaches to development must comply with the State’s international human rights obligations.

    We agree that “cooperation and dialogue” are important for the promotion and protection of human rights, and that States should fully cooperate with the Council and its mechanisms, and ensure that all stakeholders are able to cooperate and engage with them without fear of reprisals. 

    However, we must now be vigilant to ensure that the resolution on Mutually Beneficial Cooperation, lacking in balance, does not undermine other important parts of the Council’s mandate: to address human rights violations and respond promptly to human rights emergencies in specific countries. 

    The Council has failed to take meaningful action to address the alarming situation on the ground in Cambodia. We welcome and echo the joint statement on Cambodia by over 40 states calling for further action if the situation does not improve in the lead up to the elections and for a briefing by the High Commissioner before the next Council session. We are concerned by Cambodia’s attempt to shut down criticism under item 10 debate on the worsening human rights situation in the country, as they are doing domestically.

    We are disappointed by the weak outcome on Libya. Given the gravity of the human rights situation on the ground and the lack of accountability for crimes under international law, the Council cannot justify the lack of a dedicated monitoring and reporting mechanism. 

    We welcome the co-sponsorship of the Myanmar resolution by groups of States from all regions, making a joint commitment to address the continuing human rights violations and crimes against humanity in the country and support for the Special Rapporteur and Fact-Finding Mission to fulfil its mandate to establish truth and ensure accountability for perpetrators. 

    We also welcome the renewal of the mandate of the Commission on Human Rights in South Sudan allowing it to continue its vital investigations and identification of perpetrators. These developments acknowledge the importance of accountability for serious human rights violations and crimes under international law, which cannot be understated.

    We welcome the adoption of the resolution on drugs and human rights as the OHCHR report will provide human rights indicators related to the drug issue that would help in future policies.

    We welcome the resolution on Eastern Ghouta adopted after an urgent debate, demonstrating how this Council can respond in an agile manner to crises.

    Having long supported the resolution on “protection of human rights while countering terrorism", we appreciate the efforts that led to the end of the separate and deeply flawed initiative on "effects of terrorism on the enjoyment of human rights". Future versions of the resolution must address the relevant issues exclusively and comprehensively from the perspective of the effective protection of human rights. 

    We welcome the Dutch-led joint statement on strengthening the Council, emphasising the importance of substantive civil society participation in any initiative or process and that the Council must be accessible, effective and protective for human rights defenders and rights holders on the ground.

    Finally, we call on the Bureau co-facilitators on improving the efficiency and strengthening the Council to closely engage with all Members and Observers of the Council, human rights defenders and civil society organisations not based in Geneva. 

    Delivered by: The International Service for Human Rights (ISHR), The East and Horn of Africa Human Rights Defenders Project (DefendDefenders), The Global Initiative for Economic, Social & Cultural Rights, CIVICUS, International Commission of Jurists, International Federation for Human Rights Leagues, Conectas Direitos Humanos, Human Rights House Foundation, Amnesty International, International Lesbian and Gay Association, Human Rights Watch, Asian Forum for Human Rights and Development (FORUM-ASIA)

     

  • Le Royaume-Uni répond aux questions posées par les membres de CIVICUS sur le Conseil de sécurité

    Durant les consultations du mois d’août de la présidence du Conseil de sécurité avec la société civile, la Mission permanente du Royaume-Uni auprès de l’Organisation des Nations Unies a répondu aux questions soumises par les membres de CIVICUS concernant les situations sécuritaires en République Démocratique du Congo, Érythrée-Éthiopie, Gaza et Myanmar.


    La société civile joue un rôle important dans l’agenda du Conseil de sécurité et CIVICUS remercie le Royaume-Uni et tous les membres du Conseil de sécurité pour leur engagement à impliquer la société civile dans son fonctionnement.

    Le Conseil de sécurité suit de près la situation en RDC. Dans le cadre de la résolution 2409, nous avons demandé au Secrétaire général de nous faire transmettre des rapports mensuels. Le conseil tient des discussions fréquentes sur la RDC. Le Conseil de sécurité continue de souligner à quel point il est important que les élections du 23 décembre 2018 soient tenues dans le calme, de façon crédible, inclusive et dans les temps et qu’elles respectent le calendrier électoral, menant à un transfert pacifique du pouvoir, en accord avec la constitution congolaise. Le Conseil de sécurité continue aussi d’accentuer l’importance de la protection des civils, y compris à travers le mandat de la MONUSCO qui fait de la protection des civils une priorité stratégique. Durant la présidence du Royaume-Uni, un briefing s’est tenu au Conseil de sécurité sur les élections à venir en RDC. La déclaration de l’ambassadeur se trouve ici.

    Le Conseil de sécurité a publié un communiqué concernant la signature de la déclaration conjointe de paix et d’amitié entre l’Érythrée et l’Éthiopie du 9 Juillet 2018.

    L’UNRWA (l'Office de secours et de travaux des Nations unies pour les réfugiés de Palestine dans le Proche-Orient) a été établi et reçoit son mandat de l‘assemblée générale de l’ONU. La possibilité qu’elle doive suspendre ses services à cause de sa mauvaise situation financière préoccupe énormément les membres du Conseil de sécurité, comme cela a été exprimé durant les consultations du conseil du 22 août sur la situation au Moyen-Orient. Le Royaume-Uni reste fortement engagé dans son soutien à l’UNRWA et aux réfugiés palestiniens à travers le Moyen-Orient. Face à des pressions financières de plus en plus fortes, le Royaume-Uni a versé environ 60 millions de dollars en 2018. Nous continuons d’encourager d’autres à verser des financements additionnels et à effectuer des versements réguliers pour assurer que l’UNRWA puisse continuer son travail essentiel.
     
    Le Conseil de sécurité suit avec beaucoup de préoccupation la situation à Gaza, y compris à travers des briefings réguliers, comme par exemple celui du 22 août par la Secrétaire générale adjointe Rosemary DiCarlo.

    Sur le long-terme, le Royaume-Uni a pour but ultime le retour sans danger, volontaire et avec dignité du million de réfugiés Rohingyas, actuellement au Bangladesh, vers l’Etat Rakhine sous la surveillance internationale. Nous estimons que les conditions actuelles ne sont pas suffisantes pour que les réfugiés y retournent. Nous soutiendrons la Birmanie pour y arriver, mais une amélioration concrète des conditions sur le terrain est nécessaire. Dans l’immédiat, la Birmanie devrait donner à l’ONU un accès sans restriction à l’Etat du Nord-Rakhine. L’ONU s’est réjouie de la déclaration du gouvernement birman annonçant la mise en place d’une commission d’enquête sur les violences commises dans l’Etat Rakhine. Il est à présent essentiel que le gouvernement birman démontre comment l’enquête sera crédible, transparente et impartiale. Nous sommes toujours en attente d’une décision de la CPI concernant sa compétence à juger des déportations des Rohingyas au Bangladesh (qui est un état signataire du statut de Rome).

    D’autres questions soumises par les membres de CIVICUS ce mois concernent les libertés civiques en Colombie, le retrait des troupes de l’UNAMID au Darfur, l’insécurité alimentaire au Sahel, la relocalisation de l’Ambassade des États-Unis d’Amérique à Jérusalem, la détérioration de l’espace civique en Ouganda, le cas du dirigeant Soudanais, Omar Al Bashir auprès de la Cour Pénale Internationale et la menace globale du cyber crime.

    Ces questions-réponses résultent d’un appel mensuel auprès des membres CIVICUS de soumettre leurs questions au président du Conseil de sécurité des Nations Unies. Il s’agit d’une opportunité pour nos membres d’être reliés à un forum international important où des décisions sont prises. Les employés de CIVICUS posent les questions au nom de nos membres durant le briefing du président tous les mois. Tenez-vous informé en devenant membre de CIVICUS.

     

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