27 October 2016, New York – European Union Intervention at the 71st United Nations General Assembly Third Committee: Interactive Dialogue with the Special Rapporteur on Myanmar, Ms. Yanghee Lee (Agenda Item 69 (b,c))
Mme Special Rapporteur, on behalf of the European Union and its Member States I would like to first commend you on your tireless efforts to address the situation of human rights in Myanmar / Burma. The EU fully supports your mandate and your independent work.
Since 2011, we have witnessed remarkable changes taking place in Myanmar/ Burma. The arrival in April 2016 of a new, democratically elected government provides a historic opportunity. Myanmar/ Burma is at a turning point: much has been achieved but many challenges remain. The EU, which has been at the forefront of the international community’s re-engagement, is strongly committed to working together with the government, the people of Myanmar / Burma, civil society and international organisations to accompany the country along its democratic path. As reaffirmed by the EU’s Joint Communication on Myanmar issued in June 2016, human rights are one of the main areas of our engagement. Furthermore, the EU emphasizes the importance of promoting the rights of women and girls in Myanmar/ Burma. Its specific objectives include ending violence against and human trafficking of women and girls, improving the policy influence of women in the peace-building process and in political processes related to Myanmar/ Burma’s development, and ensuring girls’ right to education.
The new government has taken some steps to advance human rights, including releasing political prisoners and repealing or amending some repressive laws. The Government has established Central Committee for the Implementation of Peace, Stability and Development in Rakhine State” and an Advisory Commission on Rakhine State to try to find solutions to the many problems in Rakhine state. The Government has also attempted to reinvigorate the peace process and to make it more inclusive. Progress notwithstanding, serious human rights concerns persist. These include the human rights violations of the Rohingya and other minorities as well as other human rights challenges listed in your report and in the Secretary General’s report published in August. The country signed and ratified only a few international human rights instruments.
We would like to ask you to elaborate on the following points:
- You have closely followed the complex situation in Rakhine State. The recent events in northern Rakhine State raise real concerns. What is your assessment of the impact of these developments on the situation? What is your advice to the international community?
- Women’s enjoyment of human rights in Myanmar/ Burma is a serious problem, as is their non-involvement in the peace process. What are your recommendations to the international community to make positive changes in these respects?
- In your report, you have called on the government of Myanmar/ Burma to review and amend the 1982 Citizenship Law to bring it into line with international standards. What progress has been made in this regard?
- In your view, what UN human rights mechanisms and what action from the UN Member States would be relevant in the current context, to assist the Government as well as to monitor the human rights situation in Myanmar/ Burma?
I thank you Madam Chair.
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