As resistance grows against the Myanmar military, the Council must ensure accountability for violations

Statement at the 49th Session of the UN Human Rights Council

Item 4: Interactive Debate on the High Commissioner’s report on Myanmar

Delivered by Lisa Majumdar

Thank you Mr President, and Madame High Commissioner.

In Myanmar, a human rights catastrophe is compounded by a humanitarian emergency.

For the past year, civil servants mobilised alongside students and the workers’ movement to resist the military’s attempt to seize control. In response, the Myanmar security forces intensified their crackdown on protests, escalating to battlefield weapons against protesters, killing nearly fifteen hundred people.

Resistance against the military continues to grow and unify within Myanmar, despite the great risk. At this critical point, we call for the immediate recognition of the National Unity Government as the legitimate government of Myanmar.

Over 9,000 are currently in arbitrary detention. They include human rights defenders, lawyers, trade unionists, activists and monks. Some were taken in terrifying night-time raids. Others were abducted off the streets, held in secret facilities and denied access to lawyers. We call on Myanmar to immediately release all those arbitrarily detained.

Internet shutdowns and willful restrictions to humanitarian aid prevent much-needed supplies from reaching those in dire need. ASEAN’s efforts to halt the grave violations have failed.

The ongoing impunity for serious crimes despite clear evidence is a travesty. We welcome particularly the High Commissioner’s recommendation to support the referral of the situation to the International Criminal Court, by the UN Security Council or by duly recognised national authorities, and we urge the Council to seriously consider further steps towards accountability.

As immediate steps towards protecting those on the ground, the junta must be deprived of resources and arms. To this end, we urge States to follow the recommendations of the High Commissioner to take immediate action to prevent arms flows to the Myanmar military, and apply other targeted sanctions on military economic interests as appropriate; and to encourage businesses that maintain connections with Myanmar military owned or affiliates to cease their operation.

To the High Commissioner, what are the further measures the Council must take to ensure that accountability and justice can be achieved?


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