Human Rights Council
26 February - 23 March 2018
Agenda item 4
Human rights situation that require the attention of the Council
1. The present report, submitted pursuant to Human Rights Council resolution 34/24, covers developments in Myanmar since the previous reports of the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Myanmar, Yanghee Lee, to the Human Rights Council in March 2017 (A/HRC/34/67) and oral progress report in June 2017; and to the General Assembly in October 2017 (A/72/382).
2. On 18 December 2017, the Government of Myanmar, just weeks before her planned seventh country visit, informed the Special Rapporteur that all access to the country had been denied and cooperation withdrawn for the remaining duration of her tenure. The Special Rapporteur was due to visit Myanmar in January 2018 to help prepare her report to the Human Rights Council. While the Government had responded positively to all past requests to visit, the Special Rapporteur notes that access to some areas was consistently refused by the authorities citing security concerns. Moreover, she expresses disappointment regarding the Government’s irregular request that the undertaking of her July 2017 country visit was contingent on no association with the Independent International Fact-Finding Mission on Myanmar.
3. The Government formalized its withdrawal of cooperation on 3 January 2018 in a letter to the Human Rights Council, which stated that they would no longer extend cooperation to the Special Rapporteur and requested the President of the Council to replace the Special Rapporteur on the mandate. The Special Rapporteur expresses her appreciation to the Government for their previous cooperation and for a relationship of mutual respect. She continues to extend opportunities for the Government to cooperate in addressing human rights concerns, as she sent to the Government a list of questions ahead of this report to which she has not yet received a response.2 The Special Rapporteur sincerely hopes the Government will revisit their decision and is ready to assist them in endeavors to protect and promote human rights in Myanmar.
4. With no access to Myanmar, the Special Rapporteur conducted visits to neighboring countries: Bangladesh from 18 to 24 January, during which she travelled to Dhaka and Cox’s Bazar; and Thailand from 24 to 30 January where she visited Bangkok, Mae Sot and Chiang Mai. In both Dhaka and Bangkok, she met with government officials. The Special Rapporteur extends gratitude to the Governments of Bangladesh and Thailand for facilitating her visit.3 5. While in Bangladesh, the Special Rapporteur held extensive discussions with actors such as the United Nations and humanitarian workers, including the senior leadership of United Nations Country Team (UNCT) for Bangladesh and UNCT Myanmar, the Inter Sector Coordination Group, non-government organizations, and diplomats. She met with military and civilian leadership in Cox’s Bazar. In Thailand, the she met with the UNCT, the diplomatic community and organizations. The Special Rapporteur appreciated the contributions made to her work by the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), non-government organizations, and human rights activists.