United Nations high commissioner for human rights Michelle Bachelet has said that investigations into allegations of grave human rights violations in Myanmar’s Rakhine state remain absent.
She said, ‘There are currently no conditions for the voluntary, sustainable, dignified, and safe returns of the over 7,30,00 Rohingyas currently in Bangladesh, as well as the almost 130,000 internally displaced people who have been living in camps in central Rakhine since the violent events of 2012.’
On Wednesday, Bachelet presented reports on the situation in nine countries including Myanmar, as mandated by the UN Human Rights Council.
Bachelet urged rapid steps towards creating the requisite conditions for safe and voluntary returns, as well as recognition by the authorities of the reality of what has occurred, as a first step towards real accountability.
Referring their report she also said no steps have been taken to adequately address the issue of citizenship of the Rohingya people.
There is essentially no representation of the Rohingya community at any level of decision-making, said Bachelet.
On Myanmar, the UN rights boss said systematic discrimination and pervasive restrictions on freedom of movement continue to severely damage the human rights and fundamental freedoms of members of the Rohingya community.
Their report on the situation of human rights of Rohingya people in Rakhine state assessed progress made by Myanmar in its cooperation with the mechanisms in five principal areas which they have consistently identified as human rights priorities: citizenship; participation in public life; fundamental rights and freedoms; displacement and the right to return; and accountability, according to a message received from Geneva.
It noted initial steps by the government of Myanmar to implement some recommendations, particularly among those issued by the Advisory Commission on Rakhine state.
However, the report emphasised that the overall objectives of the recommendations remain largely unaddressed, with no significant progress observed on human rights concerns raised in previous reports.
It also raised concerns regarding participation in public life, noting that there is essentially no representation of the Rohingya community, at any level of decision-making.
It recommended measures to ensure their participation in political processes, particularly in view of the 2020 parliamentary elections, as well as adequate representation in the civil service.
The report called for immediate and concrete measures to put an end to this situation, as repeatedly recommended by the Advisory Commission on Rakhine State and the UN human rights system.
Bachelet said the government should address major concerns that perpetuate segregation and bar access to basic services, including limited freedom of movement, access to health services, and livelihood opportunities.
‘Participation of refugees and IDPs at all stages of the return processes is a critical element for the creations of adequate conditions.’
The report expressed concern about the absence of investigations into allegations of the grave violations of human rights that have been occurring in Rakhine, following the attacks of August 2017, and the failure to investigate or prosecute high-ranking officials of the military.
In several other areas, notably Kachin State and Shan State, armed conflict and related humanitarian issues also give rise to concern.
Since 2012, Myanmar has created eight commissions of inquiry, all of which exonerated the security forces from any criminal responsibility for acts committed during fighting and clearance operations.
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