48th Human Rights Council Reports

Report on Human Rights Commissioner Updates


All sources used to draft the reports on the 17th meeting can be found here Reports drafted by Amine Meharzi on September 23rd, 2021.

Composition of the HRC

Madam President Nazhat Shameem Khan opened the meeting on the promotion of a democratic and equitable international order on the 23rd of September at 10:00

Madam Michelle Bachelet United Nations High commissioner for Human Rights: The High Commissioner for Human Rights (HR) informed that the situation in Myanmar had worsened since the last update. Poverty, conflict, violence on civilians, economic collapse and effects of pandemic increased significantly. The civilian formed the opposition and since the military coup there have been 8'000 arbitrary detention whom 4'700 remained in custody and over 1'100 were killed. The arrested population was victim of torture and ill-treatment. The military army Tatmadaw also targeted health-care facilities and did not shy away from shooting, killing or arbitrarily detaining medical personnel and confiscating medical supplies essential to fighting the COVID-19 pandemic.

The HR noted serious crimes against humanity and war crimes. The military had been engaging in violation of:

  • Rights to life

  • Liberty and security of person

  • Prohibition against torture

  • Fair trial guarantees

  • Freedom of expression

  • Freedom of peaceful assembly

Due to the growing dissatisfaction, a movement of local self-defense groups had been growing creating the Defence Force movement. Ethnic armed groups had joined forces with the Defence Force. Since its creation, armed confrontations with the military increased in Myanmese regions such as Magway, Sagaing and in the states of Chin, Kachin, Shan, Kayin and Kayah. Since the violence knew no boundaries, the HC urged "all armed actors to respect human rights and ensure that civilians and civilian structures are protected". She also welcomed all parties to enable the entry of humanitarian and medical assistance in the zone.

The High Commissioner for Human Rights mentioned demands to the international community in order to restore stability and peace in the country:

  • Support a process that engages all parties of the crisis

  • Support the ASEAN initiative

  • Immediately release all political prisoners such as Daw Aung San Suu Kyi

  • Accountability for the human rights violation crimes committed by the Tatmadaw

Finally, the High Commissioner for Human Rights reminded of the people who lost their lives for safeguarding democracy and human rights and welcomed the international community to "redouble its efforts to restore democracy and prevent wider conflict".

Statements by States and International Organizations

The European Union (EU) thanked the Reporter for the update. The EU condemned the military coup against the civilian government and the violence perpetrated against civilians. The organization urged Myanmar to stop the brutal repression, systematic killings, sexual and gender-based violence, repression on freedom of expression or association torture and ill-treatment of prisoners and to immediately release those arbitrarily detained. It was time for the EU to condemn the military government based on the gathered evidence. The EU agreed that the Five-Point Consensus reached in the meeting of the ASEAN had to be implemented. The solution was to stop the violence and engage in peace. The EU asked on how the cooperation between the HC and the Special Envoy of the ASEAN could end the spiral of violence.

Lithuania on behalf of the Nordic-Baltic States condemned the military coup. They called on the military government to end the state of emergency, the human rights violations, gender-based violence and violence on minorities and demanded the release of political prisoners. They urged the Tatmadaw to respect the rule of law, to hold those accountable who abused human rights, to cooperate with human rights mechanisms and accept the implementation of ASEAN's Five Point Consensus. Finally, the group showed its solidarity to the people of Myanmar and stated its wishes for democracy, stability and peace.

Pakistan on behalf of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) expressed grief over the ongoing discrimination against the Rohingyas in form of killings, arbitrary detentions and exclusion from healthcare. The OIC urged the following recommendations to the Tatmadaw:

  • Cessation of the human rights abuses against Rohingyas

  • Integration of Rohingyas into the vaccination programs.

  • Holding the human rights violators accountable for their actions

  • Implementation of the provisional measures of the International Court of Justice (ICJ) and the recommendations of the Advisory Commission on Rakhine State such as restoring voting rights and citizenship for Rohingyas

  • Cooperation with Bangladesh and beginning of the repatriation

Finally, the OIC called on the HC to help find a solution and ensure that the Rohingyas receive reparations.

Germany aligned with the EU statement and condemned the military coup, the violence against civilians, arbitrary detention and the oppression of freedom of expression and assembly. The country showed its support to the Five Point Consensus and reminded the armed groups of the respect of human rights. Germany stated its hopes of finding a peaceful solution and reiterated that the Office should keep the monitoring of this conflict.

France expressed its serious concerns about the humanitarian situation in Myanmar. France did not recognize the new regime and urged the Tatmadaw to halt the state of urgency, the violence and the arbitrary detention. Finally, France called the armed forces to enable the full humanitarian access in the country.

Australia communicated its grief and urged the Tatmadaw to end the humanitarian violations perpetrated such as arbitrary detention and violence against civilians, journalists or healthcare workers. Myanmar was urged to allow humanitarian access to the region. Australia also mentioned its concerns regarding detained Australian Professor Sean Turnell. Finally, the country reiterated his grief and hopes that the displaced people can return to their place of origin.

Bangladesh supported the statement made by the OIC statement and recommended the High Commissioner to focus more time on the fate of the Rohingyas in his next report. Bangladesh mentioned its efforts to help the Rohingyas and its willingness to continue helping the victims. It stressed then the obligation of the international community to guarantee justice for the Rohingyas. Finally, Bangladesh called for an immediate end of the crisis and reparations for the displaced Rohingyas.

Indonesia stated how human rights must be protected and that the root cause of the problem must be addressed. Indonesia called Myanmar to return to democracy and respect the rule of law. It also called the international community to keep inquiring on the matter. As a supporter of the ASEAN's Five-point consensus, Indonesia asked the High Commissioner on elaborating on the cooperation between the UN and the ASEAN.

Japan noted that it always urged the Myanmar military to stop the violence and release the detained people. The country did not recognize the results of last year's election. As the High Commissioner recommended, Japan would support the ASEAN. Finally, Japan thanked Bangladesh for accepting refugees and hoped that the humanitarian situation of Myanmar will improve.

Albania expressed its preoccupation about the military coup and condemned the new regime in place. Albania urged the Tatmadaw to liberate all political prisoners and to cease violence against its population. The country supported the HC on the degrading humanitarian situation. Albania believed it is necessary that an independent and transparent investigation be conducted to identify the exact crimes and held the perpetrators accountable. Finally, Albania called for an end to violence and respect for human rights and the rule of law.

Viet Nam called all parties to stop the violence and engage in the reconciliation and reconstruction process. The country was committed to help overcome and support the ASEAN's five-point consensus. Dialogue, cooperation and trust building were essential in order to find a sustainable solution for the Myanmese issue. Finally, Viet Nam called the international community to continue assist with humanitarian aid and support the ASEAN recommendations.

Russia stated that the parties in conflict had to refrain from violence and reconcile to restore stability. The country was concerned about growing extremism and the growing frequent attacks on civil servants. Russia recommended the international community to discuss the Myanmar issue without interfering in its internal affairs and follow the footsteps of ASEAN member states. Russia believed that continuous dialogue and practical assistance would lead to the normalization of the situation.

Malaysia stated its support the OIC's statement and the ASEAN's implementation of the Five-Point Consensus. The country believed that engaging the conflicting parties in a dialogue was the "real sustainable solution". Finally, Malaysia stated the importance of protecting the Rohingyas.

Mauritania was deeply concerned of the ongoing persecution of Rohingyas and their degrading humanitarian situation as they were denied of access to healthcare services during the global pandemic. Mauritania called for the immediate end to violence, access to vaccines and return of Rohingyas to Rakhine.

Libya stressed the importance of the international community to take measures to improve the humanitarian situation within Myanmar. It stated its serious concerns for those who were deprived of healthcare. Libya supported the recommendations of the HC and reiterated the importance of protecting the internally displaced Muslim minorities. Finally, Libya stated that an impartial investigation into the government's humanitarian violations must be launched immediately to ensure the safe return of refugees.

New Zealand stated its concerns on arbitrary violence, imprisonment of civilians and called the Military government to immediately end the different types of violence. Women and children were the most vulnerable according to New Zealand. New Zealand affirmed that it supported the progress leading to reconciliation and peace and stressed the importance of accountability. Finally, New Zealand asked the HC what the international community should prioritize regarding the Myanmar issue.

The Philippines were concerned about the deteriorating humanitarian conditions for prisoners in Myanmar, especially Daw Aung San Suu Kyi. It supported the HC's recommendations and the Five-Point Consensus of the ASEAN. The Philippines mentioned the work of ASEAN Chair H.E. Erywan Yusof who was sent in Myanmar for trust building and providing a timeline to implement the Five-Point Consensus. In final, the Philippines asked the HC on how its office could support the efforts in the region and how the multiple mandate on Myanmar could establish the results stated in the Rosenthal report.

United Kingdom condemned the military coup and called the military to respect the humanitarian law. The UK stated that since the coup, 6'000 people had been imprisoned for political reasons and denied access for lawyers. Freedom of speech was essential to keep the remnants of the democracy. Finally, the UK asked what the international community could do to ensure that political opinions continue to be expressed within Myanmar.

Romania aligned with the statement made by the EU. For Romania, the recent acts committed by the military worsened the humanitarian situation for its people and the COVID-19 situation in Myanmar. Romania noted and condemned the international humanitarian law violations committed by Myanmar. According to Romania, the solution was to stop the violence and to hold the perpetrators accountable. Romania stated its support for the "country's democratic future" and peaceful protests. Finally, Romania recommended the international community to support the consensus established by the ASEAN.

Jordan highlighted the human rights violations committed in Myanmar and called the military to stop the violations against its people, especially the Rohingyas. Jordan also stressed the importance of respecting international law principles such as accountability, equality and non-discrimination. Myanmar must also abide to the ICJ decisions and prevent a genocide. The international community had to help ensure accountability for the international crimes against the Rohingyas and to preserve the freedom of religion in Myanmar. Finally, Jordan thanked Bangladesh for accepting refugees and reiterated the need of the military to cooperate in helping the refugees.

Iran aligned with the statements delivered by the OIC. The country was deeply concerned of the humanitarian situation in Myanmar especially for the Muslim community. Iran reminded the military that it was its responsibility to guarantee human rights for the Muslim community and to respect the humanitarian international law. Finally, Iran thanked Bangladesh for providing humanitarian assistance to the Rohingyas.

Sudan called for the release of all political leaders and all those arbitrarily detained. It condemned the violation of freedom of speech, arbitrary detentions and called the international community to take necessary measures to protect the Rohingya refugees.

Response of the High Commissioner to the questions

Response to New Zealand: According to the HC, the top priorities are to end the cycle of violence and to give humanitarian assistance to the people. The international community had to cooperate and give support so that the ASEAN recommendations can be implemented. She also stated that the perpetrators must be held accountable and that certain conditions set so that the Rohingyas can return safely.

Response to the Philippines and Indonesia: The HC had great hope for the ASEAN intervention where the leaders met and achieved the Five-Point consensus. The Office planned to share its collected information with the ASEAN and help implementing the recommendations of the Consensus. The Office would also try to facilitate engagement with the relevant civil society representants.

Response to the UK: The most important task would be to imply the voices of the people through every possible platform, make pressions on the military to cease the violence against the opposition and to set free the political prisoners. Conditions to resolve the crisis had to be established.

Response to the OIC, Pakistan, Japan, Malaysia, Bangladesh, Iran, Jordan, Mauritania and others regarding the actual state of Rohingyas: The situation within the Rakhine State had calmed down but not stabilized. Violence between the Rakhine Army and the Tatmadaw had ceased since November 2020 but had not reached a formal cease-fire. Since the Rakhine grew influence in the state, the Tatmadaw deployed additional troops which could lead to increasing violence towards the civilians such as the Rohingya community. The HC informed that still over 120'000 IDPs deprived of basic human rights were still within Central Rakhine. The Tatdamaw wanted to push forward the closure of IDP camps, proceed with ethnical cleansing and push the discrimination forward. For instance, Rohingyas could not run for office or vote in Myanmar six months ago. The HC informed that if there were no fundamental changes, the humanitarian conditions would worsen. She also stated that the international community had to continue to support Bangladesh with humanitarian assistance to help the refugees.

The Interactive Dialogue was closed by 11:07 on 23rd of September 2021 by the President and declared the short break before the Enhanced Interactive Dialogue on the Oral Update of the Commission on Human Rights in South Soudan.


Cultural Diversity and Sustainable Development for Peace