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

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

Interactive Dialogue with the High Commissioner on Myanmar

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

Thank you, Mr. President.

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

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

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

We thank you.

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




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