World Video | Defence | Foreign Affairs | Natural Events | Trade | NZ in World News | NZ National News Video | NZ Regional News | Search

 


UN Expert Report: Brighter Future for Myanmar Ethnic Groups

UN expert’s final report: “Prospect of a brighter future for the ethnic groups of Myanmar is real”

GENEVA (17 March 2014) – The United Nations Special Rapporteur on the human rights situation in Myanmar, Tomás Ojea Quintana, today presents his final report* to the Human Rights Council prior to the end of his mandate. He reflects on the progress the country has made during his six years on the mandate while highlighting the remaining challenges.

“During the course of my mandate, 1,100 prisoners of conscience have been released, independent news is being reported from within the country, free and fair by-elections have been held, and the Government is close to signing a national ceasefire accord with all the major ethnic armed groups,” Mr. Ojea Quintana says. “I want to acknowledge these achievements while highlighting the ongoing challenges to help keep the reform process on track.”

After a generation of internal armed conflict, the expert’s report highlights the progress towards securing peace in Myanmar’s ethnic border areas as one of the most significant elements of the transition: “Internal armed conflict accompanied by terrible human rights violations has blighted this country’s ethnic border areas for over sixty years. Through improved monitoring of ceasefire agreements and more inclusive political dialogue involving women and the local community, I believe the prospect of a brighter future for the ethnic groups of Myanmar is real.”

Mr. Ojea Quintana looks at the widening space for the media and civil society, and contrasts this to the beginning of his mandate in 2008 when “people spoke to him in fear”. However, he expresses concern over new attempts to restrict these evolving freedoms which reveal the “controlling military mind-set” that remains in many parts of the State.

“We must not forget that Myanmar is only at the beginning of a transition and that more fundamental reforms, including to the Constitution, will be needed to keep the process on track,” he stresses.

The Special Rapporteur flags the release of over 1,100 prisoners of conscience as one of the major achievements since the new Government came to power in 2011, and calls for the Government to continue to work to secure the release of those who remain and continue to be detained, including for protesting land confiscations.

While the human rights expert concludes in his report that the reforms are generally heading in the right direction, he underlines that this is not the case for Rakhine State. Discriminatory restrictions on freedom of movement remain for the 140,000 internally displaced and the 36,000 in crisis affected villages, the vast majority of whom are Rohingyas.

“Addressing the impunity for human rights violations in Rakhine State together with the marginalisation and discrimination against the Rohingya community remain the two fundamental challenges that the Government seems unwilling to address,” he says.

“A democratic society is not a society where the minority can be discriminated against. A democratic society is where the rule of law prevails and the human rights of all are upheld. This needs to be the destination for Rakhine State and the Government need to start planning a way to get there,” Mr. Ojea Quintana undercores.

A new Special Rapporteur on the human rights situation in Myanmar will be appointed by the Human Rights Council towards the end of March.

(*) Report can be accessed here: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/HRBodies/HRC/RegularSessions/Session25/Pages/ListReports.aspx

ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
World Headlines

 

Myanmar Election: UNICEF Urges Prioritisation Of Children

With 99 days to go before Myanmar elections, UNICEF urges candidates make children the clear winner More>>

Liberia Thousands Of Unregistered Children Born During Ebola Crisis

Thousands of unregistered children born in Liberia during Ebola crisis at risk of exploitation – UNICEF More>>

UN Refugee Agency Envoy Angelina Jolie Visits Myanmar

UNHCR Special Envoy Angelina Jolie Pitt (left) in Myitkyina township, Kachin State, Myanmar, meeting with some of the 100,000 displaced people who currently live there. Photo: UNHCR/T.Stoddart More>>

As Health Needs Rise In Somalia, Funding Hits New Low

As health needs rise in Somalia, funding hits new low, cutting off 1.5 million from care – UN More>>

Need To End Violence Against Children In Conflict

‘We should be outraged’ more not being done to end violence against children in conflict – UNICEF chief More>>

On Mandela Day, UN Joins Call To Promote Community Service

Nelson Mandela, then Deputy President of the African National Congress of South Africa, raises his fist in the air while addressing the Special Committee Against Apartheid in the General Assembly Hall. UN Photo/P. Sudhakaran More>>

Some $3.2 Billion Needed For Ebola Recovery Efforts

Some $3.2 billion needed for Ebola recovery efforts in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone – UN More>>

World Day: UN Spotlights Plight Of Vulnerable Populalations

Syrian refugees fleeing the fighting near the Syrian city of Kobani wait in a holding area before boarding buses in Turkey (September 2014). Photo: UNHCR /I. Prickett More>>

Afghanisatan: Direct Talks Between Government And Taliban

The United Nations Security Council has welcomed the recently held direct talks between Afghan Government and Taliban representatives as a step towards “peace and reconciliation” in the region. More>>

Eradicating World Hunger By 2030

Agriculture workers collect carrots on a farm in Chimaltenango, Guatemala. Photo: World Bank/Maria Fleischmann More>>

Bangladesh: Flood Leads To UN Agency Providing Food Relief

Anwar Hossain unloads cartons of High Energy Biscuits from a pickup truck and transfers them to a distribution center in Kawar Khop union, Ramu upazila, Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh. Photo: WFP/Kamrul Mithon More>>

Get More From Scoop

 
 
 
 
 
World
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news