UN Human Rights Council condemns abuses in Myanmar, urges immediate action — Global Issues


In a resolution adopted without a vote, the Council strongly condemned all violations and abuses of human rights in Myanmar, in particular following the military coup in February 2021.

It called on Myanmar to “immediately end all violence and violations of international law in the country, to ensure the full protection of the human rights and fundamental freedoms of all persons in Myanmar, including Rohingya Muslims and other minorities”.

It also called for addressing the root causes of the crisis and finding a viable, lasting and sustainable solution. It also called for the eradication of statelessness and institutionalised discrimination against members of ethnic and religious minorities, in particular the Rohingya.

Horrific violence

The predominantly Muslim Rohingya community faced horrific violence from the country’s security forces in 2017, leading to an exodus of hundreds of thousands of people to Bangladesh, where they remain in refugee camps.

Despite the interim measures taken by the International Court of Justice (IGH) As of January 2020, Rohingya in Myanmar, including women and children, continue to suffer targeted killings and indiscriminate violence, including through airstrikes, shelling, burning, landmines and unexploded ordnance.

According to the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) In 2023, 1,052 civilian casualties were recorded due to incidents involving landmines and explosives – more than three times the 390 fatalities the previous year.

More than 20 percent of the victims were children.

Reliable, international research

The 47 members Human Rights Council (HRC), the UN’s highest intergovernmental forum for all rights matters, also stressed the need for international, independent, fair and transparent investigations into allegations of sexual and gender-based violence and abuse against women and children and alleged war crimes.

It reiterated the importance of holding to account all those responsible for cruel acts and crimes against all persons, in order to provide justice to victims using all appropriate legal instruments and judicial mechanisms, including the ICJ and the Court of Justice. International Criminal Court (ICC), if applicable.

Rain batters a camp for displaced people in northern Myanmar. (file)

© UNICEF/Minzayar Oo

Rain batters a camp for displaced people in northern Myanmar. (file)

Concerns about conflict spillover

The Council in Geneva was also concerned about the cross-border implications of the conflict in Myanmar, which has reportedly led to deaths and damage to property in Bangladesh and other neighbouring countries.

It underlined the need for an immediate cessation of fighting, hostilities and attacks on civilians.

It also called for an “inclusive and comprehensive” national political dialogue and a nationwide reconciliation process, ensuring “the full, effective and meaningful participation” of all ethnic groups, including Rohingya and other minorities, women, youth and persons with disabilities, as well as civil society and religious leaders.

Stop hate speech

The Human Rights Council also called on Myanmar in the resolution to combat incitement to hatred and hate speech against Rohingya and other minorities, both online and offline. This could include enacting appropriate laws against hate speech and crime.

It also called on the country to completely lift the blockade of internet and telecommunications services in all areas, including Rakhine State, and to prevent further blockades of internet and telecommunications access and the suppression of freedom of expression.

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