March 10, 2020

Role of the UN in relation to human rights in Myanmar

March 9, 2020

The ICJ today urged the UN to more effectively protect and promote human rights in Myanmar, and the Human Rights Council to monitor implementation of the Rosenthal Inquiry recommendations to this end.

The statement, delivered in a discussion of the Secretary-General’s oral update on the involvement of the United Nations in Myanmar, read as follows:

“The ICJ welcomes the report of Mr. Gert Rosenthal entitled, ‘A Brief and Independent Inquiry into the Involvement of the United Nations in Myanmar from 2010 to 2018.’

The ICJ concurs with the conclusions, including that the UN suffered from ‘systemic and structural failures’ that effectively prevented it from stopping or mitigating the atrocities in Rakhine State in 2016 and 2017.

We welcome the initiative to brief the Council on the report, which the ICJ and other non-governmental organizations recommended to the Secretary-General in a letter last year.

The ICJ further urges that concrete steps be taken to:

1) improve coordination at all levels of the UN, including the adoption of a common strategy and agenda among agencies at the country level to promote accountability for human rights violations, which would also advance the Call to Action by the Secretary General;

2) hold UN officials responsible for failures to mitigate or prevent acts of violence constituting crimes under international law; and

3) publish annual progress reports until the recommendations are fully implemented.

The need for a concerted and system-wide commitment to promote and protect human rights in Myanmar is as urgent as ever given the intensification of armed conflict in Rakhine State and the potential for conflict as national elections approach.

We urge the Council to monitor implementation of the reforms identified in the Rosenthal report.”

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