Press Release: Special Rapporteur Report Highlights Need for Accountability
14 March 2019, London, UK – The Burma Human Rights Network (BHRN) welcomes the report of the UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Burma and the attention paid to limitations on citizenship rights for Muslims—an issue that BHRN has documented extensively.
BHRN particularly supports Yanghee Lee’s calls on the Burmese government to “cease arbitrary and discriminatory denial or restriction of citizenship rights and documentation to members of minority religions or ethnicities” and her demands that the long-abused 1982 Citizenship Law be amended or replaced.
The report took special care to mention several serious ongoing but underreported issues facing the Rohingya and non-Rohingya Muslim minorities. In particular, BHRN is pleased that the report mentioned the continued fleeing of Rohingya from Burma due to violence against them, the needs of IDPs not receiving aid, the continued pressure against the Rohingya to register for National Verification Cards, and the restrictions of movement and other fundamental human rights.
BHRN is also encouraged that the report takes into account the “security risks and instability” facing Burmese Muslims living in Thailand regarding “overly burdensome documentation requirements” which leave them effectively stateless, as was exposed in our June 2018 report Existence Denied.
“The real culprit for this systematic exclusion is the military and Burma’s state policy of anti-Muslim persecution,” said BHRN Executive Director Kyaw Win. Military commander-in-chief Senior-General Min Aung Hlaing “must be brought to justice,” he added, echoing the Special Rapporteur’s recommendation that the situation in Burma be immediately referred to the International Criminal Court and also consider establishing an international tribunal.
“Democratic reforms in Burma have failed. The international community should realise that Burma has committed genocide against the Rohingya, and continues to perpetrate systematic crime against humanity to many other minorities in Burma. This must not be undermined by a euphoria over so-called political reforms,” Kyaw Win explained.
To this end, BHRN strongly recommends sanctions be put in place against military-run conglomerates MEC and UMEHL, a move that in her report the Special Rapporteur encourages the international community to consider. The military must not continue to profit while persecuting Burma’s most vulnerable communities.
BHRN is based in London, operates across Burma and works for human rights, minority rights and religious freedom in Burma. BHRN has played a crucial role advocating for human rights and religious freedom with politicians and world leaders.
Kyaw Win, Executive Director
Burma Human Rights Network (BHRN)
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