An Oral Statement to the 27th Special Session of the UN Human Rights Council from the Asian Legal Resource Centre (ALRC)
The ALRC fully supports the calls made by the High Commissioner for Human Rights in his speech today. We appreciate the efforts by this Council to address the ongoing Rohingya crisis, that has today spilled far and wide beyond the borders of Myanmar. The crisis has affected millions of people, countless families, and an alarming number of children, many of them orphans and direct victims of brute violence, unparalleled within the Asian region in the recent past. The victims of this crisis are fundamentally the people of Myanmar, denied each one of their rights for decades, and today the protection by the state.
Therefore, key to addressing the ongoing crisis is entirely within the remit of the Government of Myanmar. Fundamental to this, is recognising the Rohingya’s rightful claim to citizenship in Myanmar, and all the protections the state should provide to the survivors.
The active willingness of Myanmar is vital to effectively addressing the crisis. Conscious efforts must be made to build the trust of the victims to safely return to Myanmar. Any effort to repatriate the survivors, who have fled Myanmar into Bangladesh against their trust and wish, would be counter productive.
The survivors living in camps of Bangladesh and other parts in the region should be provided with immediate and adequate support that could address their needs, such as – psychological, medical, educational and other facilities. Active consultation and participation of the civil society that is extensively engaged with the victims is unavoidable. Attempts like the agreement that Myanmar and Bangladesh governments have signed on 23 November 2017, excluding entirely the civil society and the United Nations must be avoided.
Myanmar should welcome open and independent international inquiries to understand what led to the violence and how to prevent its recurrence. The crisis must be approached as the failure of the state to provide protection to the people within its borders. At the very least accusing the victims for the violence must stop.
Thank you, Mr. President.
UN Web TV Video Link: (Please scroll down on the list of speakers on the right hand side and click on clip number 35 to find Asian Legal Resource Centre)