40th HRC Session: Oral Statement on the Dire Human Rights Situation in Myanmar

On 11 March 2019, Human Rights Now gave an oral statement at the 40th session of the Human Rights Council in Geneva calling on the government of Myanmar to end grave human rights violations against minorities, particularly Rohingya and displaced peoples in Kachin, Shan, Rakhine, and Kayin states. In the statement, HRN urged the government of Myanmar to end impunity and ensure serious accountability for violations by Myanmar’s security forces. HRN also expressed concern about the criminal punishment of journalists and activists for their legitimate activities and called on the government to end the practice and protect civic space in Myanmar.

The video of the statement and its full text are available below:


Thank you Madame Vice-President,

Human Rights Now shares the international community’s deep concern towards the dire human rights situation in Myanmar.

Over 244,000 persons displaced by conflict remain in camps or camp-like situations in Myanmar. HRN requests the government of Myanmar fulfil its strategy for the sustainable closure of IDP camps, guaranteeing IDP’s security, freedom of movement, and access to livelihoods and essential services.

Systematic and widespread violations reported against Rohingya, Kachin, Arakan and other civilians by Myanmar security forces since August 2017 also remain unaddressed. HRN urges Myanmar’s support and cooperation with the Independent Investigative Mechanism to prepare for future criminal accountability proceedings for violations since 2011, and that its own Commission of Inquiry act with independence and objectivity to facilitate accountability. We further urge the government to follow the recommendations of the Independent FFM report, the Advisory Commission on Rakhine State’s report, and other reports by relevant UN Mandates.

HRN also expresses concern over recent criminal punishments of activists and journalists in Myanmar, silencing legitimate criticism and encroaching on civic space, including Kachin activists Nang Pu, Zau Jet, and Lum Zwang, convicted in December 2018 of criminal defamation after calling for the protection of Kachin civilians, and Reuters journalists Wa Lone and Kyaw Seo Oo, who lost their latest appeal against their September 2018 conviction for handling state secrets after reporting on violations by the military against Rohingya civilians.

HRN urges the government of Myanmar to respect the freedom of expression of journalists and activists and to promote civic space in Myanmar by not subjecting their legitimate statements and activities to criminal punishment.

Thank you.