Myanmar: International action needed to restore democracy and protect rights

Statement at the 46th Session of the UN Human Rights Council

Thank you, Madame President.

Thank you, Special Rapporteur, for your report. Over the last weeks we have been inspired by those in Myanmar who have taken to the streets at grave personal risk to call for a restoration of fragile democratic gains.

In February, the High Commissioner expressed widely held fears that a violent crackdown on dissent would come. It has. 50 people, at least, have been killed. More than a thousand activists, protesters and politicians have been arbitrarily detained and journalists have been targeted. The military has amended laws to impose restrictions on civic space and imposed internet blackouts.

Mere rhetoric will not deter the military from a path of violent dictatorship. It needs significant international action. The Special Session on Myanmar could have provided this. It did not. But the opportunity for the Human Rights Council to show leadership in protecting human rights and preventing atrocities is not lost.

Myanmar’s protesters alone cannot restore democracy and take back the fundamental freedoms lost over the last month. We call on the Council to adopt a resolution which mandates strong monitoring and regular reporting by the High Commissioner as well as the Special Rapporteur, with a focus on accountability for violations in relation to the coup. The time for dialogue and consensus at the expense of action – at the expense of the lives of Myanmar’s brave protesters – has passed.

We ask the Special Rapporteur what he thinks should be the key priorities for States in ensuring tangible support for Myanmar’s people and accountability for violations?

We thank you.

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