Remarks on the Third Committee Adoption of the Resolution on the Human Rights Situation in Myanmar

Ambassador Kelley Currie
U.S. Representative for Economic and Social Affairs
U.S. Mission to the United Nations
New York City
November 16, 2017


The United States delivers this general statement. We are a co-sponsor of this timely and important resolution on the human rights situation in Myanmar, but are profoundly disappointed to see this issue return to the point where such a resolution in third committee is urgently needed.

We are gravely concerned by widespread reports of atrocities committed by Myanmar’s security forces, and by those acting in concert with security forces, against Rohingyas in Rakhine State. We have repeatedly condemned the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army’s (ARSA) attacks on Myanmar’s security forces, but we cannot remain silent in the face of the horrific abuses that have been perpetrated against the Rohingya people in Rakhine state, both individually and as a group.

The United States again calls on Myanmar authorities to respect the rights of its entire population; provide unhindered UN, humanitarian, and media access throughout Burma, especially in Rakhine state; ensure justice for victims and accountability for those responsible for human rights violations and abuses; and take all necessary measures so that all persons can safely and voluntarily return to their places of origin. We support the right of those who have fled violence, terror and abuse in Rakhine State to return to their own country and choose their residence within that country, and we understand this resolution to reaffirm those rights. We are also deeply grateful to Bangladesh for its generosity.

The United States welcomes the government’s commitment to implement the recommendations of the Advisory Committee on Rakhine State, including with respect to access to citizenship and reform of the Discriminatory 1982 Citizenship law, in order to create lasting peace. It is incumbent upon the military and the security forces to respect these commitments, and to assist the civilian government in implementing them instead of undermining it.

Likewise, we are alarmed by the atmosphere of intolerance and hatred in Burma towards the Rohingya and others, and call on all government authorities to take steps to promote a different narrative that does not empower radical, extremist, chauvinistic or violent agendas.

We are also deeply concerned by the numerous and ongoing reports of security forces committing human rights violations and abuses against individuals from ethnic and religious minority groups in other parts of Myanmar, including Kachin and Shan States. We urge the Myanmar authorities to give the UN Fact-Finding Mission access to all affected areas.

Constitutional and security sector reform will be key to implementing sustainable solutions to the many challenges now facing the people of Myanmar, and we will continue to support their efforts to overcome these challenges.