Universal Periodic Review – MEDIA BRIEF

Friday, 6 November 2015 (Morning)

(Disclaimer: The following brief is not an official record, provides a brief factual summary of the UPR Working Group meeting with the State under review, and does not cover all points addressed)

State under review

Myanmar
Represented by 20-member delegation headed by Tun Shin, Attorney General of Myanmar

Documents

To access national report, compilation of UN information, and summary of stakeholders’ information, visit
the Myanmar page on UPR website

Troika *

Ghana, the Maldives and the United States of America

Opening statement by State under review

Few points raised in the  opening statement of State under review:
(See full statement on Myanmar page on UPR Extranet**)

  • The current government of Myanmar, after assuming responsibility on 31 March 2011, has made positive developments on political, administrative, social, justice and economic reform for which the government formulated and promulgated laws; progress has also been made in the areas of education, health, amnesty and freedom of religion;
  • The National Human Rights Commission was formed under the National Human Rights Commission Law enacted by the Parliament in September 2011 and in March 2014 the National Human Rights Commission Law was adopted to bring it in line with the Paris Principles;
  • Very soon [Sunday, 8 November], the Union Election Commission will be conducting free and fair elections in Myanmar for which international observers from all over the world were currently in the country, the head of delegation noted;
  • A nationwide ceasefire agreement has also been signed with eight armed groups on 15 October 2015 which aimed to give way to political dialogue;
  • Responding to questions posed in advance, the delegation noted that the Government was implementing programmes on the rule of law and access to justice in cooperation with UNDP and a total of 49 seminars were held in that regard;
  • The Police Force has been trained on crowd management with the assistance of the European Union and human rights officer from OHCHR were sharing their expertise with the Police Force in all regions and states;
  • Myanmar was working closely with regional partners to combat human trafficking and between January and September this year, 201 offenders were arrested and persecuted according to anti-trafficking laws;
  • The President issued an order in 2013 to form the Scrutiny Committee to Monitor the Political Prisoners initially with 16 members from three political parties, and eventually 28 members from 16 political parties, and also five civil society organisation, to review and submit to the President recommendations for granting amnesty to political prisoners;
  • Special rapporteurs on the human rights situation in Myanmar, members of the National Human Rights Commission and Supreme Court Judges made visits to prisoners and, likewise, the ICRC also had access to prisons so as to ensure human rights were met; the National Human Rights Commission investigated the complaints of torture of political prisoners and found that they were not true, a member of the delegation stated;
  • Myanmar acceded to the Convention on the rights of persons with disabilities in 2011, and in 2015 signed the International Covenant on economic, social and cultural rights;
  • Myanmar invited and received the current Special Rapporteur on Myanmar, Ms. Yanghee Lee, for a five-day visit in August 2015, her third visit since she assumed her mandate in May 2014;
  • Today, peace and stability in Rakhine State has been restored and since 2012 there was no recurrence of inter-communal violence.

Participants

In total 98 States participated in the dialogue:  34 HRC members and 64 observers  (Statements available on Myanmar page on UPR Extranet)

Positive achievements

Positive achievements noted by delegations included, among others:

  • The important transition and reform process that has been realized in the past years;
  • The recent signing of the Nationwide Ceasefire Agreement;
  • The establishment of the Myanmar National Human Rights Commission;
  • The ratification of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, as well as the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the rights of the Child on the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography;
  • The alignment of existing laws with international human rights instruments;
  • The National Strategic Plan for the Advancement of Women 2013 – 2022;

Issues and Questions

Issues and questions raised by the Working Group included, among others:

  • The increase of violence and discrimination against ethnic minorities;
  • The protection of Race and Religion bill;
  • Laws that restrict the exercise of freedom of religion, peaceful assembly and expression;
  • The absence of women in the ongoing peace negotiations;
  • Actions that had rendered the Rohingya Muslim minority stateless;
  • The deprivation of the Rohingya’s right to vote ;

Recommendations

States participating in the dialogue posed a series of recommendations to Myanmar.  These pertained to the following issues, among others

  • To facilitate and expedite the establishment of an OHCHR country office with a full mandate;
  • To restore full citizenship rights of the Rohingya and resume their recognition as an ethnic group legitimately residing in Myanmar and to remove provisions in the 1982 Citizenship Law that grant citizenship on the basis of ethnicity or race;
  • To bring the new Media Law, the 2014 Printing and Publications Law and the Peaceful Assembly and Peaceful Procession Act in line with international human rights standards;
  • To establish a de jure moratorium on the death penalty;
  • To enact legislation that guarantees comprehensive protection to women from discrimination and all forms of violence;
  • To end discrimination and address violence against members of the Rohingya population;
  • To free all remaining prisoners of conscience and to put an end to arbitrary arrests;
  • To strengthen efforts to register all children born in Myanmar without any discrimination;
  • To take necessary measures to combat hate speech against minority members;
  • To extend a standing invitation to special procedure mandate holders;
  • To pursue the path of reform and democracy;
  • Ratification of human rights instruments: the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and its two protocols; the Convention against Torture and its Optional Protocol; the Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Racial Discrimination; the Rome Statue of the International Criminal Court; the Second; the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the involvement of children in armed conflicts; the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights; the Convention on the Rights of Migrant Workers; and the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women.

Adoption of report of Working Group

The adoption of the report -recommendations section- of the UPR Working Group on Myanmar is scheduled to take place on Tuesday, 10 November 2015

*The troikas are a group of three States selected through a drawing of lots who serve as rapporteurs and who are charged with preparing the report of the Working Group on the country review with the involvement of the State under review and assistance from the OHCHR.

** For access to the UPR Extranet, please fill out the following form to receive a username and password

Media contacts:
Rolando Gómez, Public Information Officer, OHCHR, + 41(0)22 917 9711,
rgomez@ohchr.org
Cédric Sapey, Public Information Officer, OHCHR, + 41(0)22 917 9695, csapey@ohchr.org

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