Some Recent International Response to the Situation of the Rohingya in Burma
This timeline provides a chronological list of important responses and actions from national and international actors since 2015.
• UN Special Rapporteur on the human rights situation in Myanmar releases a statement following her visit to the country from 7 to 16 January, reporting on the “severe curtailment of the rights” of Muslim IDPs in detention, with “limited access to essential services.” She reiterates that the government should allow “equal access to full citizenship for the Rohingya minority.” (Statement)
• UN Special Rapporteur on the human rights situation in Myanmar addresses the HRC, saying that discrimination against ethnic and religious minorities continues, fueling conflict, while the situation in Arakan/Rakhine state “remains dire,” with “abysmal” conditions in Muslim IDP camps. (Statement)
•UN Special Rapporteur on the human rights situation in Myanmar calls upon the government to “find meaningful ways to improve the human rights of all in Rakhine state.” (Statement)
•UN Special Rapporteur on the human rights situation in Myanmar releases a report to the HRC, finding “ signs of backtracking by the Government and increasing concerns over discrimination and ethnic conflict.”(Report)
•HRC adopts a resolution reiterating its serious concern about the situation of the Rohingya to ensure their equal access to full citizenship and related rights. (Resolution)
• Burma/Myanmar invalidates the identification cards (“white cards”) held by many Rohingyas, forcing them to apply for citizenship as “Bengalis,” suggesting their illegal migration from Bangladesh.
• UN SG convenes meeting of his Partnership Group on Myanmar, reiterating his call for the establishment of an OHCHR office with a full mandate. Member states emphasize the need for the government of Burma/Myanmar to address citizenship issues.(Statement)20
• UNHCHR Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein releases a statement calling upon regional governments to take swift action to protect the lives of the estimated 6,000 Rohingya and Bangladeshi migrants stranded at sea, noting that “until the Myanmar Government addresses the institutional discrimination against the Rohingya population, including equal access to citizenship,this precarious migration will continue.” (Statement)
• UNHCR, UNHCHR, International Organization for Migration , and UN SRSG for International Migration and Development release a statement urging the leaders of Indonesia, Malaysia, and Thailand to protect migrants and refugees stranded on vessels in the Bay of Bengal and the Andaman Sea, to facilitate safe disembarkation, and to give priority to saving lives, protecting rights, and respecting human
• Five UN Special Rapporteurs release a statement expressing alarm at the enactment of the Population Control Healthcare Bill, the first of four so -called “Protection of Race and Religion” bills, saying the bills “particularly discriminate against ethnic and religious minorities and have the potential to fuel existing tensions in the country.” (Statement)
• HRC adopts a resolution condemning the systematic gross violations of human rights and abuses committed against Rohingyas, urging the government of Burma/Myanmar to grant the Rohingya citizenship and address the spread of discrimination and prejudice against Muslims. (Resolution)
• UN Special Rapporteur on the human rights situation in Myanmar concludes her third visit to the country, reporting that the disenfranchisement of Rohingyas “is an issue that must be seen against the backdrop of institutionalized discrimination against the Muslim population in Rakhine State.” (Statement)
• UN Special Rapporteur on the human rights situation in Myanmar expresses concern over the disenfranchisement of Rohingyas and urges the government to “do more to combat hate speech and incitement to violence.” (Statement)
• UN Special Rapporteur on the human rights situation in Myanmar releases a report to the UNGA, finding “no major improvement in the human rights concerns previously highlighted, in particular the long-standing and institutionalized discrimination against the Rohingya community.” (Report)
• APHR releases a report warning that the region risks another major refugee crisis as a result of the persecution of the Rohingya, urging the Burma/Myanmar government and ASEAN states to address the situation.(Report)
• UN Special Rapporteur on the human rights situation in Myanmar delivers a statement to the UNGA, expressing concern about the situation of the Rohingya, in particular their disenfranchisement by the government of Burma/Myanmar and “the long -standing and institutionalized discrimination” against them.(Statement)
• UN Special Rapporteur on the human rights situation in Myanmar calls upon the authorities in Burma/Myanmar to “ensure that respect for the human rights must be at the core of the historic elections” on 8 November. (Statement)
• UN Special Advisers on the Prevention of Genocide and the Responsibility to Protect release a statement on the upcoming elections in Burma/Myanmar, expressing concern that the electoral process has resulted in “further marginalization of religious minorities,” highlighting “decades of institutionalized discrimination in law, policies and practice” against Rohingyas. (Statement)
• Burma/Myanmar holds its first general elections –with Rohingyas disenfranchised – since 1990, which the National League for Democracy (NLD) wins. 22
• UNGA adopts a resolution reiterating its serious concern about the situation of the Rohingya “and of other minorities subject to marginalization and instances of human rights violations and abuses.” The resolution called upon the government of Burma/Myanmar to protect the human rights and fundamental freedoms of all individuals, including Rohingyas, and to ensure equal their access to full citizenship. (Resolution)
•Burma/Myanmar’s outgoing parliament adopts the “Former Presidents’ Security Law,” which grants immunity for undefined “measures” taken during office “in accordance with the laws.” The law could potentially grant immunity for grave violations of human rights, in contravention of international law.
• UNHCR reports that some 2,000 people, mostly Rohingya Muslims, died trying to cross the Bay of Bengal since 2012. (Report)
• OCHA Director of Operations, John Ging, briefed the media following his visit to Burma/Myanmar from 22 to 25 February, reporting on the “appalling sanitation conditions” in Rohingya displacement camps. He appeals for an end to the “discriminatory and repugnant policies” of segregation and disenfranchisement. (Press Release)
• UN Special Rapporteur on the human rights situation in Myanmar releases a report calling upon the NLD “to take immediate steps to put an end to the highly discriminatory policies and practices against the Rohingya and other Muslim communities.”(Report)
•HRC adopts a resolution expressing “serious concern s over human rights violations,” particularly against Rohingyas, and urging the government to repeal discriminatory legislative and policy measures, lift restrictions on movement that impede access to health and education services, intensify efforts to address discrimination, and counter incitement to hatred and hate speech leading to violence. The resolution also extended the mandate of the special rapporteur for one year.(Resolution)
• President Thein Sein, on his last day in office, lifts the state of emergency in Arakan/Rakhine state (imposed after clashes during 2012), saying in an ordinance that the situation“ can no longer pose dangers to the lives and property of the people.”
•NLD-led government begins its term under the country’s new President, Htin Kyaw.
•UNHCHR Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein releases a report on the human rights situation of the Rohingya, saying the issue is of the “utmost concern.”The report details a “pattern of gross human rights violations against the Rohingya,” including discriminatory policies and practices targeting them on the basis of their ethnic and/or religious identity. In addition, “widespread and systematic” attacks against Rohingyas give rise to the possible commission of crimes against humanity, he said, and urged the NLD government to take concrete steps to put an end to the systemic discrimination and ongoing human rights violations against minorities.(Report)
• UN Special Rapporteur on the human rights situation in Myanmar concludes a 12-day visit to the country, calling for greater efforts by the NLD government in furthering the democratic transition and respecting for human rights, and urging the international community not to undermine the country’s rights priorities “in the rush to forge or strengthen political or economic ties.”She called upon the government to “demonstrate that instigating and committing violence against an ethnic or religious minority community has no place in Myanmar.”(Press Release)
• EU Parliament passed a resolution expressing concern for the Rohingya having suffered decades of “brutal oppression” and “systematic persecution,” and calling upon the government to abolish discriminatory policies and to restore the Rohingya’s citizenship.(Resolution)
Original Credit: the Global Center for the Responsibility to Protect
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