We thank the Special Rapporteur on Human Rights in Myanmar, Ms. Yanghee Lee, for her briefing and welcome the comprehensive report on Myanmar.
As the Special Representative points out, since 2011 Myanmar has undergone far-reaching changes that have affected most aspect of life in the country. Progress has been achieved in many areas such as democratization, national reconciliation and development. It is important to recognize the efforts by Myanmar to bring about reforms, as well as the Government’s commitment to interacting with the international community in addressing and improving the human rights situation.
As the Special Rapporteur states, there are still many concerns, not least with regard to the dire situation in the Rakhine State and the escalating conflict in the Kokang self-administered zone. There is also a need for the Government of Myanmar and all political parties to address hate speech, increasing intolerance and incitement to violence to ensure a safe and secure environment for all. The Special Rapporteur recommends Myanmar to take urgent steps to address escalating extremist nationalist sentiments in the country. We would appreciate further reflections by the Special Rapporteur on this, including how she assesses the current situation.
We also call on the Government to take appropriate steps to ensure the safety and security of journalists, civil society activists and human rights defenders and their freedom to pursue their activities.
Preparations for the forthcoming national elections are well underway with good cooperation between national electoral bodies and international electoral advisors. The Government should ensure that fundamental freedoms, as well as the operating space for civil society, are fully protected in the approach to the elections. The Special Rapporteur recommends that the Government of Myanmar initiate meaningful democratic amendments to the 2008 Constitution. We would appreciate further reflections by the Special Rapporteur on this, including how the international community best could support this process.