Myanmar: Independent investigation needs access and international community must ensure accountability

Statement at the 45th Session of the UN Human Rights Council

Interactive Dialogue with the Independent Investigative Mechanism for Myanmar 

Thank you, Madame President,

We thank the Independent Investigative Mechanism for its second report.

We particularly welcome efforts articulated towards outreach and engagement with local and regional civil society. 

We are alarmed by the continuing lack of access granted to Myanmar to the Independent Investigative Mechanism for Myanmar (IIMM), which has been exacerbated owing to the COVID-19 pandemic. For the mechanism to fulfil its mandate, it is crucial that it has access to information including to relevant evidence of serious international crimes and witnesses. Ongoing failure to ensure unfettered access to journalists, humanitarian actors and human rights monitors to Rakhine state also puts this in jeopardy. We call on the government to grant access to the Mechanism and other actors as a matter of urgency. We further call on Facebook to uphold its commitment to cooperate by providing all relevant evidence it holds, noting that to date it has only partially complied with such requests.

Myanmar’s future depends on a clear demonstration from the international community that any international crimes will not be tolerated. It also depends on those in Myanmar who speak out on violations and advocate for positive change being listened to, rather than persecuted. We call on the Myanmar government to do so.

Pursuing criminal accountability is a long process and requires long-term sustainability. We call on the Council to ensure that the Mechanism can enjoy such sustainability by ensuring it adequate resources. We further call on the international community to recognize that the vital work of the Mechanism is only one stage of this process, and to take steps to ensure progress towards accountability is made: including by referring Myanmar to the International Criminal Court or an independent tribunal, and exercising universal jurisdiction to hold the perpetrators accountable. 

Failing to do so would be a grave abdication of responsibility to the victims of grave human rights violations, their families and communities, who have deserved accountability and justice for so long.

We ask the Mechanism what steps it is taking to systematize engagement with civil society, and what steps it is taking to ensure sustainability in the event of budget restrictions?

Thank you.

Civic space in Myanmar is rated as Repressed by the CIVICUS Monitor.

Current council members:

Afghanistan, Angola, Argentina, Armenia, Australia, Austria, Bahamas, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Bulgaria, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Chile, Czech Republic, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Denmark, Eritrea, Fiji, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Libya, Marshall Islands, Mauritania, Mexico, Namibia, Nepal, Netherlands, Nigeria, Poland, Pakistan, Peru, Philippines, Qatar, Republic of Korea, Senegal, Slovakia, SomaliaSudan, Spain, Togo, Ukraine, Uruguay, Venezuela

Civic space ratings from the CIVICUS Monitor