Report of the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Myanmar (A/HRC/34/67) (Advance Unedited Version)
Nearly one year since the new government assumed office, it continues to face formidable human rights challenges. In this report, the Special Rapporteur builds on previous reports to identify some of these challenges, and makes related recommendations.
1. The present report is submitted by the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Myanmar, Yanghee Lee, to the Human Rights Council pursuant to resolution A/HRC/RES/31/24, further to her reports to the Human Rights Council in March 2016 (A/HRC/31/71) and to the General Assembly in August 2016 (A/71/361). Herein, the Special Rapporteur addresses the human rights challenges faced, and acknowledges the progress made by, the new Government which assumed power in March 2016.
2. The Special Rapporteur conducted her fifth official visit to Myanmar from 9 to 20 January 2017. 1 While the Special Rapporteur requested 14 days, the Government only allowed for a 12-day visit during which she travelled to parts of Kachin, Mon and Rakhine States as well as to Yangon and Nay Pyi Taw. The Special Rapporteur expresses appreciation for the Government’s cooperation, particularly in respecting her request to meet community members in villages as well as Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) camps in Rakhine State without close monitoring of state government officials and security personnel, however she regrets the repeated short-notice responses to her requests to visit specific locations. This is a recurring pattern, with last minute denials resulting in rearrangement of her programme also at the last minute, thus preventing full optimization of the limited time.
3. From the meetings and conversations held by the Special Rapporteur with the State Counsellor, the various government officials as well as Parliamentarians, she acknowledges the genuine commitment and dedication of the Government in their efforts to improve the lives of all in Myanmar. However, this commitment has yet to be fully translated into real actions that are felt on the ground as evidenced by the feelings of hopelessness that the ordinary people have begun to express.
Development of Joint Benchmarks
4. As mandated by Human Rights Council Resolution 31/24, the Special Rapporteur has drafted proposed joint benchmarks (see Annex). These draft joint benchmarks were sent to the Government three weeks before her January visit and also attached to discussion points sent in advance of meetings in Nay Pyi Taw. She notes only two ministries chose to discuss the proposals substantively. She hopes to discuss these proposed benchmarks, and those that may be developed from this report, ahead of her next country visit in order to agree on joint benchmarks upon which progress can be measured. Also in line with the resolution, the Special Rapporteur sought to identify priority areas for technical assistance and capacity-building and a non-exhaustive list of some areas suggested by interlocutors are included in the recommendations herein.