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

 


Myanmar: UN expert raises alarm on Rakhine State

Myanmar: UN expert raises alarm on Rakhine State

Geneva, 7 April 2014 – The United Nations Special Rapporteur on the human rights situation in Myanmar, Tomás Ojea Quintana, today pressed the alarm bell on the further deterioration of the human rights situation in Rakhine State.

“Recent developments in Rakhine State are the latest in a long history of discrimination and persecution against the Rohingya community which could amount to crimes against humanity.” He warned that the evacuation of aid workers, following the recent attacks on UN and NGO premises in Sittwe, “will only increase the vulnerability of this community”.

“These workers were in Rakhine State providing essential life-saving support, including health services, water and food to internally displaced persons, isolated villages, and other affected communities,” he explained. “The withdrawal of these workers will have severe consequences on the enjoyment of fundamental human rights, including the right to life.”

Water availability could reach critical levels within a week in some displacement camps, particularly in Pauktaw. The impact on healthcare will be particularly severe for the 140,000 people still in such camps in Rakhine State and the 700,000 vulnerable people outside the camps.

Mr. Ojea Quintana noted the Government’s commitment last week to ensure the safety and protection of UN and other international agencies’ personnel, and underlined the need for the prompt return of all humanitarian staff so that their life-saving work can resume with all communities.

Prior to these latest developments, in his latest report to the UN Human Rights Council in March the Special Rapporteur reported that, taking into consideration the information and allegations he had received throughout his six years on the mandate, crimes against humanity may have been committed in Rakhine State.

National census – further concerns
The Special Rapporteur also expressed concern about the ongoing census in Myanmar: “The Government’s decision against self-identification of the Rohingya for the census is not in compliance with international human rights standards,” he stressed.

Self-identification for the Rohingya has been at the root of some protests in the past in Rakhine State that led to violence and human rights violations and abuses for which there is yet to be accountability. “The ongoing census risks this cycle repeating itself,” the expert said.

“Self-identification should constitute a pillar of the collection of ethnically disaggregated data. It is related to respect for the rights of individuals to assert their own identity,” Mr. Ojea Quintana stated. “To deny self-identification is therefore a violation of human rights.”

During his latest mission to the country last February, the Special Rapporteur heard from a range of ethnic groups that the ethnic categories included in the census did not reflect how they identified themselves.

“It is not only in Rakhine State that people object to the ethnic categories included in the census,” he noted. “It became clear during my discussions with communities in Kachin State that the Government has approached the census without sufficient or meaningful consultation with all affected communities.”

Mr. Ojea Quintana’s views on the census and calls for the prompt return of all humanitarian staff are shared by the Special Rapporteur on the human rights of internally displaced persons, Chaloka Beyani; the Special Rapporteur on minority issues, Rita Izsák; the Special Rapporteur on the right of everyone to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health, Anand Grover; the Special Rapporteur on the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association, Maina Kiai; and the Special Rapporteur on contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance, Mutuma Ruteere.

The United Nations human rights experts are part of what it is known as the Special Procedures of the Human Rights Council. Special Procedures, the largest body of independent experts in the UN Human Rights, is the general name of the independent fact-finding and monitoring mechanisms of the Human Rights Council that address either specific country situations or thematic issues in all parts of the world.

They are charged by the Human Rights Council to monitor, report and advise on human rights issues. Currently, there are 37 thematic mandates and 14 mandates related to countries and territories, with 72 mandate holders. In March 2014, three new mandates were added. Special Procedures experts work on a voluntary basis; they are not UN staff and do not receive a salary for their work. They are independent from any government or organization and serve in their individual capacity. Learn more: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/HRBodies/SP/Pages/Welcomepage.aspx

For more information log on to:
Human rights in Myanmar: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/HRBodies/SP/CountriesMandates/MM/Pages/SRMyanmar.aspx
IDPs: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/Issues/IDPersons/Pages/IDPersonsIndex.aspx
Minority issues: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/Issues/Minorities/IExpert/Pages/IEminorityissuesIndex.aspx
Freedom of association: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/Issues/AssemblyAssociation/Pages/SRFreedomAssemblyAssociationIndex.aspx
Racism: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/Issues/Racism/SRRacism/Pages/IndexSRRacism.aspx

UN Human Rights, country page – Myanmar: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/countries/AsiaRegion/Pages/MMIndex.aspx

ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
World Headlines

 

Russian Hack Job?: White House - Actions In Response To Russian Malicious Cyber Activity & Harassment

President Obama authorized a number of actions in response to the Russian government’s aggressive harassment of U.S. officials and cyber operations aimed at the U.S. election in 2016. More>>


Israel/Palestine: Michael Field - Background To How Israel Nearly Went To War With New Zealand

New Zealand and Senegal managed to get the United Nations Security Council to pass resolution 2334 which said Israel’s settlements in Palestinian territory violate international law and undermine a two-state solution in Israel's conflict with Palestine. More>>

ALSO:


US Indigenous Affairs: How President Obama Has Protected Our Sacred Land

I am very proud to be both Navajo and American. As the President of the Navajo Nation, I’ve dedicated my life to ensuring that, as a Navajo, my story -- and our stories -- are part of our collective American history. Today, I want to share one of those stories with you. More>>

Binoy Kampmark: The Berlin Truck Attack And The Refugee Question

The hard-nosed neo-cons were certainly showing little interest in linking arguments, examining evidence, or even considering elementary logic in the aftermath of the Berlin truck attack near the Gedächtniskirche. With the bodies fresh in the morgue, former US ambassador to the United Nations, John Bolton, peered into the mind of the everyday German, and found teeth chattering fear. More>>


Demonetisation: Gordon Campbell On India’s Huge Socio-Economic Experiment

Without much coverage at all in the West, India has just been engaged for the past few weeks in one of the world’s biggest socio-economic experiments since the Cultural Revolution in China. More>>

Gordon Campbell: On The Death Of Fidel Castro

New Zealand likes to think we played our part – via the 1981 Springbok tour – in bringing the apartheid regime in South Africa to an end… Jacob Zuma treated the death of Fidel Castro at the weekend as an occasion to pay a heartfelt tribute to the thousands of Cuban soldiers who travelled across the world to inflict the first significant military defeat on the forces of white supremacy. More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On The US Election Home Stretch

Once again at the business end of a US election, the result will hinge on the same old bits of geography as always: the Five Crucial Counties in Ohio, the Two Crucial Counties in Pennsylvania and the I-4 Interstate Corridor in Florida that runs from Tampa Bay through Orlando to Daytona Beach. More>>

ALSO:

Meanwhile:


Get More From Scoop

 
 
 
 
World
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news