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call for input | Special Procedures

Call for contributions: international community’s treatment of those fleeing Myanmar

Issued by

Special Procedures


27 January 2023

Purpose: Inputs for the Report to the 52rd session of the UN Human Rights Council addressing the international community’s response to those fleeing violence and human rights violations in Myanmar.

Reponses to the below questionnaire addressed to Member States and other stakeholders will assist the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Myanmar, Tom Andrews, to report on the actions and policies of Member States as they relate to individuals fleeing violence and human rights violations in Myanmar. The mandate-holder will incorporate his findings into his written report to the Human Rights Council as its 52nd session in March 2023.


Since the military coup d’état on 1 February 2021, Myanmar’s military junta has committed grave human rights violations, some of which constitute probable crimes against humanity and war crimes. The junta has carried out a campaign of mass arrest and detention, rounding up activists, human rights defenders, journalists, political leaders, and others expressing opposition to the coup and military rule. According to the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners, more than 13,000 political prisoners are currently detained. The junta has also used violence and brutality in an attempt to suppresses all forms of resistance. In the wake of the coup, junta forces fired live ammunition at peaceful protesters, causing many to flee urban areas. In the months since, the military and junta-proxy militias have attacked civilian populations perceived to be aligned with opposition armed groups. Military jets and helicopters have bombed villages, soldiers have attacked and executed civilians, and security forces have tortured and perpetrated sexual and gender-based violence against men, women, girls and boys. Military forces have burned civilian homes and other buildings: according to credible reports, more than 38,000 civilian structures have been destroyed since the coup.

The junta’s human rights violations have led to widespread internal displacement and caused many to flee the country. According to UN estimates, more than 1.1 million people have been internally displaced inside Myanmar, and since the coup it is estimated that at least 72,000 have fled outside of Myanmar, where they join pre-existing refugee and migrant populations, including more than 1 million Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh. The precise extent of displacement is unknown, but reports from civil society suggest that the true figures could be much higher. The routes are often dangerous, with people facing human rights abuses and dying en route. This is in addition to many persons from Myanmar who were already living in third countries prior to the coup, whether as refugees, migrants, students or otherwise.

Since the coup, many countries have taken important steps to provide shelter and security to those fleeing Myanmar. Some have welcomed refugees at their land, air and sea borders. Others have offered visas and asylum and small numbers have been resettled to third countries. Some governments have gone to great lengths to bring political figures and civil society leaders to safety. Yet, as a whole, the international response to the refugee crisis and displacement precipitated by the coup has fallen short. Some fleeing Myanmar have been arrested and detained, sometimes indefinitely, others pushed back across borders, forcibly repatriated, or otherwise refouled. Many do not have access to asylum procedures and have been left to survive as undocumented persons without access to basic human rights, including access to healthcare, education, and livelihoods. Not enough has been done to facilitate aid deliveries to displaced persons in border areas. Countries with developed economies have not done their part—failing to adequately fund humanitarian aid and offering few opportunities for resettlement.

Input sought

The Special Rapporteur invites Member States, international organizations, national human rights institutions, civil society organizations, academics, networks, and other relevant stakeholders to share information, documents, statements or analysis to address the following topics. If available, please provide information or analysis that links these issues to specific legislation, policies or programmes.

Responses can address some or all of the questions below. Responses should focus on actions taken since the 1 February 2021 military coup or pre-existing policies that have had a tangible impact on individuals displaced since the coup.

  1. What actions taken by Member States have led to violations of the principle of non-refoulement, which requires that States not return anyone to a territory where they would be at risk of persecution or other serious human rights violations? Information is particularly sought on pushbacks at land and sea borders as well as forcible deportation.
  2. What actions have been taken, or policies adopted, by Member States to prevent violations of the principle of non-refoulement?  
  3. What opportunities have Member States offered to those who have left Myanmar to regularise their migration status, either by providing for asylum, visas, or resettlement? Information on resettlement quotas or caps for Myanmar nationals is welcome. Please provide information on all the pathways available for persons from Myanmar to travel to third countries and how these are being used/can be used to provide safe pathways for Myanmar nationals?
  4. What solutions have been provided for Myanmar migrants in third countries who are in regular status as migrant workers, or who may have irregular status, but for whom returning is not a realistic option? 
  5. What challenges, including the actions or policies of Member States, prevent individuals fleeing Myanmar from accessing asylum, protection, or refugee status determination processes by UNHCR or national authorities?
  6. What options are there for pathways for family unification for those who are outside of Myanmar, including in particular for children? 
  7. What experiences have people fleeing Myanmar had with surveillance and harassment? What actions or policies by Member States promote or discourage surveillance and harassment of those fleeing Myanmar?
  8. What are the policies of Member States with regards to arrest and detention of Myanmar nationals in their territories, including policies that promote indefinite detention? What are the policies with regards to detention of children, including unaccompanied children?
  9. What steps have been taken by Member States to promote or deny access to livelihoods, education and medical care and other essential services by people fleeing Myanmar?
  10. What actions and policies by Member States facilitate or impede the delivery of humanitarian aid to internally displaced people in Myanmar?
  11. What material contributions have Member States made to humanitarian aid programs for Myanmar refugees and internally displaced persons in Myanmar?
Treatment of inputs/comments received

The Special Rapporteur may cite the names of States, organizations or individuals that have provided information in response to this call. However, submitting organizations or individuals may request confidentiality or anonymity, and the Special Rapporteur will honor such requests.

Next Steps

Inputs may be sent via e-mail until 27 January 2022.

E-mail address: [email protected]

E-mail subject line: International Response – input for the Special Rapporteur

Word limit: 3,000 words

File formats: Word, PDF