Situation of human rights in Myanmar
Note by the Secretary-General
The Secretary-General has the honour to transmit to the General Assembly the report of the Special Rapporteur of the Human Rights Council on the situation of human rights in Myanmar, Yanghee Lee, submitted in accordance with Human Rights Council resolution 34/22.
Report of the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Myanmar
The present report provides an overview of human rights developments in Myanmar up to 25 August 2017. It builds on previous reports to identify key human rights challenges facing the Government and contains recommendations on the step needed to address them.
1. The present report, submitted pursuant to Human Rights Council resolution 34/22, covers developments in Myanmar since the previous reports of the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Myanmar, Yanghee Lee, to the General Assembly in October 2016 (A/71/361) and to the Human Rights Council in March 2017 (A/HRC/34/67) and in an oral progress report in June 2017.
2. The Special Rapporteur conducted her sixth official visit to Myanmar from 10 to 21 July 2017. During the 12-day visit, the Special Rapporteur travelled to Rakhine, Shan and Kayin states, as well as Yangon and Nay Pyi Taw. She addressed a range of human rights issues with Union Parliament and State ministers and other stakeholders, including parliamentarians, political, religious and community leaders, civil society representatives, victims of human rights violations and members of the international community.
3. She thanks the Government of Myanmar for its continued cooperation with her mandate, although she expressed some reservations regarding the nature of this cooperation at the end of her visit.1 In particular, she found the Government’s request for an undertaking for her visit to have “nothing to do with the fact-finding mission to Myanmar” to be highly irregular in the light of her independent mandate. She hopes for better access to the places that she requests on future visits and for a more conducive environment in which to meet with non-Governmental interlocutors.
II. Consolidating democracy and creating a culture of human rights
4. The Special Rapporteur has noted previously that consolidating democracy and cultivating a human rights culture is a complex undertaking requiring political will and emphasized the importance of enhancing State accountability and addressing the apparent climate of impunity. To that end, she is heartened that the parliamentary leadership recently encouraged the engagement of parliamentarians on human rights and requested that they all attend a human rights seminar, which the Speaker opened with a speech linking human rights to democracy.
5. While the Special Rapporteur respects the right of the Lower House parliamentarians to express their dissatisfaction towards her statement concluding her July visit, she is disappointed that the full statement was not considered and nor was the context of her past statements, reports and recommendations. The Special Rapporteur has particular constraints, such as word limits, in which to acknowledge positive progress and concerning developments. Where serious human rights violations are alleged, she is duty and morally bound to raise the alarm.
6. As requested by the Human Rights Council, she has repeatedly sought to develop joint benchmarks and an implementation plan with the Government but continues to be met with very limited success.