EU Statement – UN General Assembly: Briefing by the Special Envoy on Myanmar

(Source: EEAS)

13 June 2022, New York – European Union Statement delivered by H.E. Ambassador Olof SKOOG, Head of the Delegation of the European Union to the United Nations, at the occasion of the informal meeting of the General Assembly to allow the Special Envoy of the Secretary-General on Myanmar, Ms. Noeleen Heyzer, to brief the General Assembly

 – Check against delivery –

Mr President, Madam Special Envoy,

The European Union and its Member States welcome this briefing, which takes place pursuant to resolution 76/180, on the “Situation of human rights of Rohingya Muslims and other minorities in Myanmar”. The General Assembly adopted this resolution by consensus in December 2021 at the initiative of the European Union and the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation. The resolution sends a strong and clear signal on the urgency to improve the situation of human rights in Myanmar, also following the February 2021 coup and the subsequent unleashing of violence. The resolution expresses our support for the Rohingya, other ethnic and religious minorities and all people of Myanmar who suffer from grave human rights violations and abuses. The EU continues to call on all international and regional actors to work with courage and determination to bring Myanmar back to the path of democracy and to finally implement sustainable structural changes as proposed by the final report of the Advisory Commission on Rakhine State. ASEAN’s Five Point Consensus needs to be implemented swiftly and faithfully.

We echo the recent call by the Secretary-General for the respect of people’s rights to freedom of opinion and expression and to drop all charges against those arrested in the exercise of their fundamental freedoms and rights, and for the immediate release of all prisoners arbitrarily detained in Myanmar.

Chair,

Myanmar has now reached a sad record in the number of internally displaced persons: over 1 million. 70% of them have been displaced by the conflict following the coup, notably in the Sagaing region. The situation in Myanmar remains dire, the international community must continue to look for solutions and not allow this conflict to be forgotten To date, only slightly above 10% of the USD 826 million requested in the 2022 Humanitarian Response Plan has been committed.

The EU remains extremely worried about the situation in Myanmar, and condemns in the strongest terms continuing violations and abuses of human rights such as the rising occurrence of raiding and torching of villages, often accompanied by enforced disappearances, arbitrary arrests and summary executions. We remain extremely worried about the systematic and widespread atrocities committed by the Myanmar security and armed forces, in particular in the ethnic States of Kayin and Kayah States, as documented by a recent report released by Amnesty International. We call on the security and armed forces to end torture and deaths in detention, as well as the persisting practice of arresting the children, parents or close relatives of opponents. The EU is also extremely worried about indiscriminate attacks against civilians, including children, and gender-based violence.

We are gravely concerned by the rise of capital punishment sentences since the coup. It is estimated that 114 people have been sentenced to death, most of which have been imposed by military courts, without the possibility for appeal. We call on Myanmar de facto authorities to apply the moratorium of the executions observed since 1988. In particular, we call on the de facto Myanmar authorities not to carry out the several death sentences announced last week.

In such horrendous circumstances, the EU deeply regrets that the Secretary- General’s Special Envoy has not been given access to Myanmar yet. We echo your call for trust-building efforts by all stakeholders and call in particular for a closer coordination with ASEAN.

The EU continues to stress the importance of ensuring accountability for war crimes and crimes against humanity committed in Myanmar before and after the 1 February 2021 coup. We steadily support the investigative work done by the Independent Investigative Mechanism for Myanmar and have taken note of the work done by the ICC and the ICJ. We underline the importance of the work of the IIMM, the ICC and the ICJ in ensuring full accountability and justice for the people of Myanmar. We encourage all UN member states to support IIMM, including through legal cooperation.

In view of the escalating violence in Myanmar, we are deeply concerned that some countries continue to supply lethal assistance to Myanmar’s military regime, enabling its violence and repression. We urge all countries to support the people of Myanmar by immediately stopping the sale or transfer of arms, military equipment, materiel, dual-use equipment, and technical assistance to Myanmar, in line with UN General Assembly Resolution 75/287 and with the already existing EU arms embargo.

Madam Special Envoy,

We have noted with satisfaction the recent second visit to Bangladesh of the UN Independent Investigative Mechanism for Myanmar. In that regard, could you, Madam Special Envoy, elaborate on your recent cooperation with the countries in the region? You have flagged your interest to work more closely with ASEAN: how could your cooperation with ASEAN be improved?

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