Myanmar rejected the draft resolution on “Situation of Human Rights in Myanmar” tabled by the European Union (EU) on 22 June 2020 at the 43rd session of the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva.
In his statement to the Human Rights Council, Permanent Representative of Myanmar U Kyaw Moe Htun highlighted the following main reasons, among others, for rejecting the draft resolution:
First, selective targeting of country-specific resolutions should be avoided. Human rights issues must be addressed within the global context through a constructive, non-confrontational, non-politicized, non-selective and dialogue-based approach, and in a fair and equal manner. The country specific mandates do not contribute to improving but rather worsening the situation on the ground.
Second, the scarce resources of the UN should not be used in vain. It is also regrettable that while the Council tries to address the issue of liquidity crisis of the UN, sacrificing the general debates for the June session, millions of dollars are used on country specific mandates. Especially, in the case of Myanmar, it is using huge resources for establishing multiple mechanisms to scrutinize a single country.
Third, sovereign right of a country should not be intruded but rather be respected. The issue of Rakhine is just one of many challenges Myanmar faces. Domestic criminal justice mechanism has been activated based on the final report of the Independent Commission of Enquiry (ICOE). The domestic accountability process of Myanmar should be respected.
Fourth, the draft resolution does not reflect the reality. Myanmar is undergoing a difficult democratic transition and is facing many challenges in its endeavours to promote sustainable peace, national reconciliation, and development throughout the country. Despite these challenges, achievements have been made in many sectors.
Finally, the international community should extend helping hands to Myanmar, instead of imposing impediments on Myanmar. Particularly at present, Myanmar, like others, is addressing the unexpected challenges posed by Covid-19 pandemic. Myanmar’s response to the pandemic is based on the principle of “leaving no one behind”. The State Counsellor points out that people are the key by stressing, “we place value on the people and derive our strength from the people. We are striving to overcome the dangers of this disease by building up the spirit of all for one and one for all”.
Furthermore, the Permanent Representative stated that the EU’s draft resolution would in no way contribute to finding solutions to overcome the challenges we face, but rather impose serious impediments on our efforts for bringing peace, stability, and development for all the peoples across the country.
The Permanent Representative of Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, exercising its right as a member of the Council, called for a vote.
Accordingly, the draft resolution was put to a vote at the Human Rights Council and adopted with a vote of 2 against, 8 abstention, and 37 in favour. The Philippines and Venezuela voted against the draft resolution in support of Myanmar. Angola, Cameroon, Democratic Republic of the Congo, India, Indonesia, Japan, Nepal and Senegal voted abstention.