Statement on agenda item 70c “Situation of Human Rights of the Rohingya Muslims and Other Minorities in Myanmar.”

Courtney R. Nemroff
Acting U.S. Representative to the United Nations Economic and Social Council
U.S. Mission to the United Nations
New York, New York
November 14, 2019


Thank you, Chairperson.

The United States is proud to co-sponsor this timely and important resolution on the human rights situation in Myanmar.

The United States condemns continuing serious human rights violations and abuses across Myanmar, including in Rakhine, Kachin, and Shan States, which have been documented in credible independent reporting including by the United Nations.

Consistent with this resolution, the United States calls on Myanmar authorities to deepen democratic reforms; establish civilian control of the military; ensure accountability for those responsible for human rights violations and abuses; remove those responsible for human rights violations and abuses from positions of authority and bar them from public office; protect and promote human rights and fundamental freedoms, including freedoms of expression, religion or belief, association, and peaceful assembly; allow unhindered access across Myanmar for UN, humanitarian, and human rights organizations, and media groups; implement the recommendations of the Annan Advisory Commission in Rakhine State, including those related to access to citizenship and freedom of movement; work to ensure that all displaced persons can voluntarily return to their places of origin in safety and dignity; and address victims’ calls for justice. We encourage the Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for Myanmar, Christine Schraner Burgener, facilitate concrete progress on these matters and welcome her engagement with civil society.

The United States expresses its deep appreciation for the work and valuable reports of the Independent International Fact-Finding Mission, which highlighted “deeply entrenched impunity” in Myanmar. The United States welcomes the operationalization of the Independent Investigative Mechanism for Myanmar (IIMM) and further welcomes the Secretary-General’s appointment of Nick Koumjian to be its head. We call on all countries to take steps to support and facilitate the work of the IIMM. We likewise commend the Special Rapporteur on the situation for human rights in Myanmar, Yanghee Lee, and call on Myanmar authorities to resume cooperation with her mandate.

The United States reaffirms the resolution’s urgent call to ensure full protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms of all persons in Myanmar, including Rohingya Muslims and persons belonging to other minorities, in an equal and non-discriminatory manner. This would prevent further instability and insecurity, alleviate suffering, address the root causes of the crisis and forge a viable, lasting, and durable solution.

We strongly condemn the ongoing violence in Myanmar and urge all involved to commit to end violence as soon as possible. While we do not take a position on whether all such ongoing violence could be characterized as an armed conflict, we support efforts to advance peace and national reconciliation.

The United States strongly supports the resolution’s urgent call for accountability. We read the language regarding the responsibility of States to prosecute violations of international law and human rights abuses to refer only to those actions that constitute criminal violations under applicable law and note that there are no such violations in some of the bodies of international law listed. Similarly, we read the language regarding the responsibility to provide an effective remedy to apply to those whose human rights have been violated, as appropriate under applicable treaties.

We also refer to our global general statement made on November 7.

In closing, we encourage all delegations to vote in favor of this resolution.

Thank you, Chairperson.