An Oral Statement to the 34th Regular Session of the UN Human Rights Council from the Asian Legal Resource Centre (ALRC)
Mr. President and Madam Rapporteur,
The ALRC is concerned about the methodical atrocities committed by the government against the Rohingya community in Myanmar, and seriously doubts the government’s willingness to undertake an impartial investigation into these atrocities, and about the state’s professional capacity to do so.
Madam Rapporteur, the ALRC is of the opinion that Myanmar’s justice institutions do not have an institutional memory of independence, professionalism and even the theoretical knowledge to assist the government or international or regional agencies that are willing to help Myanmar to deal with not only the Rohingya crisis, but also several layers of internal problems the country is facing today.
Whether the situation in Myanmar is referred to as ‘in transition, or changing in a positive direction’, what is vital for a state and its people emerging from military dictatorship is institution building. Today Myanmar has numerous judges who do not have a primary degree in law; lawyers for the past two generations lack experience of appearing before a professional judge; and, a civilian police know nothing more than executing orders from the military.
We understand that positive changes in countries that have a military past like Myanmar will take time. However, the opening that is today available in Myanmar must not be lost and the experience of the UN in Cambodia should not be repeated. The ALRC therefore requests the Rapporteur to study closely the capacity of, and the actual functioning of, Myanmar’s justice institutions, if at all, the international efforts made for Myanmar were to benefit the country.
Thank you, Mr. President.
Webcast video: Link (Please scroll down and click on clip number 49 to find the statement of Asian Legal Resource Centre.)