GENEVA / MYANMAR HUMAN RIGHTS

11-Mar-2019 00:04:16
Myanmar’s Rakhine state continues to face a humanitarian crisis and the suppression of people’s basic rights, a UN Human Rights Council-appointed expert said on Monday, in an appeal for the matter to be referred to the International Criminal Court (ICC). UNTV CH
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STORY: GENEVA / MYANMAR HUMAN RIGHTS
TRT: 4:14
SOURCE: UNTV CH
RESTRICTIONS: NONE
LANGUAGE: ENGLISH / NATS

DATELINE: 11 MARCH 2019, GENEVA, SWITZERLAND
SHOTLIST
1. Exterior shot, Palais des Nations
2. Wide shot: Room XX.
3. Med shot, journalist.
4. SOUNDBITE (English) Yanghee Lee, Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Myanmar:
“The Memorandum of Understanding between the Government, UNHCR and UNDP has not been effectively implemented, and it expires in a few months. There is nothing to indicate that conditions have improved for the Rohingya who remain in Myanmar; I am gravely concerned about what their future will be.”
5. Close up journalists.
6. SOUNDBITE (English) Yanghee Lee, Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Myanmar:
“I am increasingly concerned about conflict between ethnic armed organisations in Shan State. There are recent reports of civilian deaths and thousands of people have been temporarily displaced from their homes over the last few months, with 1,700 people fleeing from Namtu and Hsipaw since 27 January.”
7. Close up, camera.
8. SOUNDBITE (English) Yanghee Lee, Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Myanmar:
“Allegations exist of fighters dressing as civilians and using civilian vehicles, landmine use, forced recruitment and forced portering, and arrest and detention of civilians suspected of being associates or sympathisers of the Arakan Army. It does not appear that the situation will improve in the immediate future.”
9. Med shot, cameras.
10. SOUNDBITE (English) Yanghee Lee, Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Myanmar:
“I still firmly believe that the situation in Myanmar must be referred to the ICC by the Security Council, or a state party or group of states parties. Victims must not be forced to wait in the purgatory of international inaction.”
11. Med shot, delegates.
12. SOUNDBITE (English) Yanghee Lee, Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Myanmar:
“I am deeply concerned by what appears to be a serious downplaying of the ongoing humanitarian crisis and suppression of human rights that is affecting Rakhine State.”
13. Med shot, delegates.
14. SOUNDBITE (English) Yanghee Lee, Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Myanmar:
“Revenues from natural resource extraction needed for vital services and development being diverted to the military and its allies undermines the civilian Government, democratic reforms, the peace process, sustainable development and the realisation of rights.”
15. Med shot, TV camera operators.
16. SOUNDBITE (English) Yanghee Lee, Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Myanmar:
“I have received recent reports about jailed Reuters journalist Kyaw Soe Oo being ill with an unknown illness and I am also very concerned about the health of jailed Kachin activist Nang Pu. They both must be released immediately, their convictions withdrawn, and provided with immediate medical treatment.”
17. Med shot, delegates.
18. SOUNDBITE (English) Statement on behalf of Rohingya refugee Hamida Khatun, delivered by member of “Lawyers’ Rights Watch Canada”:
“In August 2017, I fled Burma to Bangladesh when my village was attacked. My Rohingya brothers and sisters were killed, my husband and mother were killed. I’m the only Rohingya woman who could leave Bangladesh to tell you what happened to hundreds of thousands of us.”
19. Med shot, Bangladesh delegate.
20. SOUNDBITE (English) Statement on behalf of Rohingya refugee Hamida Khatun, delivered by member of “Lawyers’ Rights Watch Canada”:
“I have three requests for the international community. first: justice including compensation; second: to return home in safety and security including citizenship and third: access to education, Thank you Madam Vice-President.”
21. Med shot, Room XX.
22. SOUNDBITE (English) Kyaw Moe Tun, Permanent Representative of the Republic of the Union of Myanmar to the UN:
“We share the concern over the plight of all affected communities due to the violence triggered by provocative, coordinated attacks of ARSA terrorists against multiple security outpost in October 2016 and August 2017. I would like to reiterate Myanmar’s readiness to receive the verified returnees in a voluntary safe and dignified manner in accordance with the bilateral agreements with Bangladesh.”
23. Med shot, photographers .
24. SOUNDBITE (English) Kyaw Moe Tun, Permanent Representative of the Republic of the Union of Myanmar to the UN:
“We will not accept any call for referring the situation in Myanmar to the ICC. The Government of Myanmar established an Independent Commission of Enquiry in July last year. The Commission will investigate all alleged violations of human rights and atrocities committed in Rakhine State as part of Myanmar’s effort to the address the issue of accountability. The Government is willing and able to address the accountability issue.”
25. Med shot, delegates.
26. Med shot, TV camera operators.
STORYLINE
Myanmar’s Rakhine state continues to face a humanitarian crisis and the suppression of people’s basic rights, a UN Human Rights Council-appointed expert said on Monday, in an appeal for the matter to be referred to the International Criminal Court (ICC).

Presenting her latest report to the 47-Member body in Geneva, Yanghee Lee, Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Myanmar, detailed several serious concerns across the country.

These include abuse linked to the mass exodus of some 700,000 Rohingya Muslims from Rakhine state in August 2017, which was sparked by separatist violence against police posts, as well as violence in Shan state and the alleged mass abuse of natural resources.

Among her findings, Lee noted that just last week she had received a report that 24 Rohingya houses in the town of Buthidaung in Rakhine had been burned down, which officials explained afterwards by saying that the owners had torched the properties themselves.

Under the terms of a 2018 UN-led agreement between Myanmar and Bangladesh - which hosts around a million Rohingyas in exile – Myanmar is to create conditions conducive to the voluntary, safe, dignified and sustainable repatriation of Rohingya refugees. Today, the conditions of this Memorandum of Understanding have not been met, the Special Rapporteur said.

“The Memorandum of Understanding between the Government, UNHCR and UNDP has not been effectively implemented, and it expires in a few months,” she said. “There is nothing to indicate that conditions have improved for the Rohingya who remain in Myanmar; I am gravely concerned about what their future will be.”

Violence between ethnic groups is also continuing in eastern Shan state, despite a ceasefire declared by the military, Lee said.

“I am increasingly concerned about conflict between ethnic armed organisations in Shan State,” she explained. “There are recent reports of civilian deaths and thousands of people have been temporarily displaced from their homes over the last few months, with 1,700 people fleeing from Namtu and Hsipaw since 27 January.”

Returning to conflict in Rakhine state, the Special Rapporteur maintained that clashes between the separatist Arakan Army and the Myanmar military had forced 10,000 people to flee since November.

“Allegations exist of fighters dressing as civilians and using civilian vehicles, landmine use, forced recruitment and forced portering, and arrest and detention of civilians suspected of being associates or sympathisers of the Arakan Army,” Lee said. “It does not appear that the situation will improve in the immediate future.”

Given the gravity of the situation, she appealed for the UN Security Council to take the international lead on the matter.

“I still firmly believe that the situation in Myanmar must be referred to the ICC by the Security Council, or a state party or group of states parties. Victims must not be forced to wait in the purgatory of international inaction,” she said. “I am deeply concerned by what appears to be a serious downplaying of the ongoing humanitarian crisis and suppression of human rights that is affecting Rakhine State.”

Lee also highlighted serious concerns over severe restrictions on freedom of speech. “I have received recent reports about jailed Reuters journalist Kyaw Soe Oo being ill with an unknown illness and I am also very concerned about the health of jailed Kachin activist Nang Pu,” she said. “They both must be released immediately, their convictions withdrawn, and provided with immediate medical treatment.”

Allegations of misuse of Myanmar’s natural riches constituted one of the biggest areas of the Special Rapporteur’s investigations, particularly in the gemstones and timber sectors.

“Revenues from natural resource extraction needed for vital services and development being diverted to the military and its allies undermines the civilian Government, democratic reforms, the peace process, sustainable development and the realisation of rights,” the Special Rapporteur explained.

For the first time, the Council heard testimonies from two Rohingya refugees, Hamida Khatun from Shanti Mohila and Muhub Ullah from the Arakan Rohingya Society for Peace and Human Rights, which were read by a member of “Lawyers’ Rights Watch Canada”.

Myanmar, speaking as a concerned country, said that the Government had sought sustainable peace and national reconciliation, while the issue in Rakhine state was vast and complex.

“We share the concern over the plight of all affected communities due to the violence triggered by provocative, coordinated attacks of ARSA terrorists against multiple security outpost in October 2016 and August 2017,” said Kyaw Moe Tun, Permanent Representative of the Republic of the Union of Myanmar.

“I would like to reiterate Myanmar’s readiness to receive the verified returnees in a voluntary safe and dignified manner in accordance with the bilateral agreements with Bangladesh.”

In response to Lee’s appeal for an international tribunal to investigate alleged abuses, Kyaw insisted that his country “will not accept any call for referring the situation in Myanmar to the ICC. The Government of Myanmar established an Independent Commission of Enquiry in July last year. The Commission will investigate all alleged violations of human rights and atrocities committed in Rakhine State as part of Myanmar’s effort to the address the issue of accountability. The Government is willing and able to address the accountability issue.”
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