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As Special Rapporteur on the humanitarian conditions in Myanmar, I am delighted to present my end of the missions. The Myanmar government has not permitted me to travel to Myanmar since December 2017 to do my work on behalf of theHRC. After the extension of my term of office in March, I also asked the Indian Government to allow a trip to India so that I could see Myanmar migrants in New Delhi, Jammu and Kashmir and Mizoram but did not receive a reply.
I would like to take this occasion to thank the Government of Bangladesh for always welcome and making my stay easier. I have been greatly assisted by the UN units in Bangladesh, in particular the Office of the Resident Coordinator, and I thank the Inter-sectoral Coordination Group and those who supported me in Cox's Bazar.
Since the government refused me entry to Myanmar, I could only see those in Bangladesh, the neighboring nation that receives over one million MYRs. At Dhaka I had meetings with the government, UN organizations and INGOs, and at Cox's Bazar I encountered Rohingya migrants in a number of refugee centres and villages, as well as the government, the UN, human rights and security players and NGOs.
And I would also like to thank the UN country team in Myanmar for talking to me. Recently I have been receiving more inquiries than ever about my term of office and work on Myanmar. First of all, I would like to make it clear that my term of office was granted by the Human Rights Council, a panel set up in 2006 under General Assembly General Assembly Res. 60/251.
He is an impartial specialist charged with monitoring the state of the country's humanitarian law and reporting annually to the UNHRC and the General Assembly. Those who have escaped decade-long systemic persecution and excessive force in Myanmar and now reside in crowded Bangladesh are Rohingya migrants.
It is very clear what public law is. Pursuant to the 1951 Refugee Convention, Art. 1, the refugee definitions apply to Myanmar nationals in Bangladesh and other states. Rohingyas in Bangladesh escaped for justified anxiety of harassment and as a consequence of continued government and army persecutions on the grounds of ethnic origin, racial origin and religious beliefs.
These must be acknowledged by all as Rohingya migrants, even by guest countries such as Bangladesh, and they must be described as migrants in all official and personal declarations of all stakeholders and in all documents submitted to them. Refusing to recognize their identities, ethnicities and present standing deprives them of the right to which they are eligible, not least the right of non-refoulement to Myanmar.
Secondly, we must all recognise not only the Rohingyas' nationality but also the way in which they became stateless. Roheingya citizens' freedoms have been abolished in a systematic manner since the 70s and have been excluded from access to them in an effective manner since the 1982 law on nationality was introduced.
Since then, the Myanmar government has discriminatively refused them nationality and is continuing to do so. When I was in Cox's Bazar, I encountered fugitives who showed me documents about the nationality of earlier generation, as well as their families and grandchildren, who kept them well. Speaking of the Rohingyas' nationality we must talk about their being restored by the Myanmar government and not use obscure terms such as "the way to citizenship".
This is a denial of the realities of the events and the human beings to whom it has occurred, and it is not a permanent and enduring settlement for the Rohingya community. Myanmar's government is pledged to ensure a "path to citizenship" for the Rohingyapeans. But in fact, for many years consecutive government led the Rohingya on a path away from the nationality laws they had before.
I had the chance to hold telephone conferences with various persons and groups in Myanmar during this missions. I' m concerned about what I have been informed about the development of the Myanmar people' s basic humanitarian law by all the peoples I have spoken to personally and by telephone on this one.
Overwhelming is the news they have given me: Enough is enough; the deplorable state of affairs that prevails for the Myanmar population today must come to an end. I have been told that the democracy in Myanmar is continuing to worsen. Representative legislation such as the Telecommunications Act, the Peaceful Assemblies and Processions Act and the Illegal Associations Act are still used to repress the lawful exercising of the right to free speech, meeting and union and freedom ofthe media.
As a result of the indiscriminate and submissive interpretations and application of these legislation to oppress dissident politicians, youngsters, those defending the protection of humankind and those involved in activism, there are still a number of imprisoned politicians and inmates, even though so many members of the NLD were themselves imprisoned politically. My urgent appeal to the government to lift and change the troubled legislation, to which I have referred on several occasions, and to do the necessary work to prevent the Myanmar population from living in a culture of anxiety while they exercise their basic democracy.
Recently I have heard stories that the policemen have forcibly repressed a protests against the construction of a sculpture of General Aung San in Kayah State, home of the Karenni population. It is the latest in a string of indiscriminate detentions of young protesters throughout the countryside who wish to assert their right to a peaceful gathering in the interests of peacemaking and the protection of the prerogatives of national minorities.
While the issue of minorities' freedoms was scheduled for the forthcoming Panglong Peace Conference in the third century, it is no longer on the order of business. Given that questions of minorities' freedoms, as well as the issue of discriminatory practices, are at the heart of so many of the challenges Myanmar faces, I call on all parties to start these challenging debates, as the solution of these challenges will be crucial to Myanmar's future of peace.
I' ve talked to the Kachin and Shan states, who have told me about the frightening new tactics of the Tatmadaw, where they use the civilian prisoners in areas of conflicts as shelters. That is a serious breach of public humanitary justice and must be brought to an immediate halt. Twenty thousand new refugees in these countries are still not safe to go home and have very little aid, with increasing restrictions on aid provision, even for domestic organizations.
The incident violates Myanmar's commitment under the provisions of public humanitary legislation to provide and enable quick and unhindered access to human aid for needy civil persons. The seizure of property by the Myanmar army has long been a serious problem. However, I am aware that there are some very worrying tendencies whereby the government is actually robbing those who have been expelled by force or conflicts throughout the whole area.
In Myitkyina, several hundred internally displaced persons are said to have recently been resettled to a selected state, not their place of birth or election, and they have received no aid other than three-month long rationing. Mr President, I am very concerned about what the outlook will be for these and other individuals if this tendency persists in conflict-affected areas of the state.
In Bangladesh, I talked to some fugitives who have been arriving in Cox's Bazar in the last few day. The information they gave me suggests that the north Rakhine is far from stabilised or secure; the systemic force against the surviving Rohingya people is continuing. Those fugitives said to me that Myanmar's police had invaded their communities and that they had to agree to the National Verification Card (NVC) - a documentary that does not include nationality laws and rejects the Rohingya - or had to do so.
In addition I went to "No Man's Land" between Myanmar and Bangladesh. About 4,200 Rohingyas live there, most of them on Myanmar's side and about 20 per cent on Bangladesh's side. I' ve seen Myanmar's border guards watching them from the hill and the strengthened barbwire barrier recently constructed by the Myanmar government.
You said to me that every single working night speakers on the Myanmar side of the gate record that tells them that it is against the law to be there and go and to record Sermons. Also, I was with a little kid who was killed a few nights ago by Burmese police.
One bullet was launched from Myanmar's side and struck him in the hips. At Cox' s Bazar, the fugitives who have lived in the state of Rakhine for years of horrible injuries and mistreatment have been attended and interrogated by innumerable prominent figures, high-ranking personalities, policy makers, scientists, humanitarian organizations and reporters - the shortlist goes on.
It is important to talk to the traffickers and it is vital to monitor the protection of fundamental freedoms, but I have been informed by several of them that they have been questioned by many. It is a matter of great concern to me and I would like to call on all those involved at world level and at home to give dignified treatment to the victim and not to ask them to report back on trauma on a number of occasions.
Now that it is clear that the government of Myanmar has made no headway or shown a genuine will to reduce the system of discriminatory legislation, policy and practice in the countrys territory and to make the North Rakhine state secure, the Rohingya will not return to Myanmar in the near-term.
In Cox' s Bazar it is therefore necessary to switch to mid- and long-term plan. It is a matter of concern to me that human aid is still in a state of crisis, with the emphasis on the provision of essential aid to the fellowship. It is important to give these groups room and help so that they can effectively present their societies in various forums, also in the areas of human rights responses, rehabilitation plans and management, and in the debate on accounting forums.
In my talks with returnees and human rights activists, I see that there are three things that are desperately needed to secure the survival of the Rohingya group. Firstly, for all; that is, young women and men who go beyond elementary schooling and the elderly who have been refused access to it.
Thirdly, and crucial for both questions and the Rohingya's capacity to lead a decent existence, is mobility. My recommendation to the Cox' s Bazar philanthropic fellowship, which is working untiringly to help the displaced people; the work they are doing is unbelievably hard and I am very much struck by their commitment.
Bangladesh's Bangladeshi authorities and human aid workers have worked tirelessly to strengthen the camp's facilities and get ready for the break. Overload is increasing as human beings progressively come, as are threats to human and personal wellbeing. My call on all human rights players to place security and sex at the centre of their work.
Bangladesh's agencies should also intensify their effort to combat persistent violent acts, human smuggling and other types of illicit activity in the refugee camp that are affecting the life and welfare of Rohingya people. This effort must be in line with global norms. It is important that the multinational fellowship should not ignore the hosting fellowship in Cox's Bazar, which has shared its ressources with the Rohingya people, and the funds should also be used to help that fellowship.
I' ve heard that the government of Bangladesh is planning to resettle people from Cox's Bazar to Bashan Char, an isle that has recently emerged in the Bay of Bengal. I' d asked the government to allow me a trip to see the terms of the isle. I do not believe that the United Nations and non-governmental organizations have conducted a tecnical or humanitary evaluation to establish whether the isle is inhabitable.
It is not yet clear whether and how the 100 000 people who are said to be resettled, how the refugee movements on the islands will be made easier and how the people on a secluded and isolation area will have living, healthcare and schooling.
Only a few inches after the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the Government of Myanmar, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) was signed, I asked the Government of Myanmar through its Permanent Mission in Geneva for a copy of the MoU.
I was speaking to in Cox's Bazar, the fugitives voiced their grave concern, frustration and rage at the absence of advice about their destiny. On 27 June I voiced my consternation at the Council's failure to provide sufficient clarity. In Cox' s Bazar I was informed that there are projects for the counselling and debate of asylum seekers, but that is not enough.
Let me repeat that any unintentional and non-advisory returns of returnees are contrary to the fundamental rules of public International Justice and must not take place. It also amazes me that there has been no significant improvement in Myanmar in terms of providing the necessary preconditions for the repatriation of migrants. Whilst the Rohingya in Cox' s Bazar is in a very fragile position and should remain a priority for the wider world, Myanmar residents residing in the harshest of environments, and some of Myanmar's neighbours, are also eligible for a secure, volunteer, dignified as well as sustained homeward returne.
In the course of this visit I talked by telephone with Myanmar migrants in India, who are living in a state of anxiety and insecurity, and with the Indian government's threats of compulsory export. Little consideration has been given to this issue by the multinational corporation. The UNHCR and other UN organisations in charge of refugee relief must increase their assistance to guarantee the security and respect for refugee rights in India, who are living in such a terrible state.
The Rohingya migrants with whom I have spoken during my missions, as well as the Myanmar campaigners and civic groups, have made justice a central requirement. Responsibility for the horrors perpetrated is imperative and must be transferred to all those in Myanmar who have sustained breaches and breaches of fundamental freedoms and the rule of respect for peoples' freedoms.
Now it is more than clear that violation of Myanmar's basic principles of respect for fundamental freedoms and respect for Myanmar's right to freedom, security and justice will go on if the vicious circle of force and harassment is not breached. On 27 June, when I presented to the UNHRC, I suggested introducing an accounting system for Myanmar. Mr President, I am glad that the High Commissioner for Fundamental Freedoms has also asked for an internationally accountable system that is in line with my suggestion.
May I call on the multinational body to meet immediately and introduce the mechanisms at the September Human Rights Council. Allow us to pause for a minute and introduce the life of the fleeing people who leave their houses, livestock and paddy fields and live in the shelters. Every day is a memory of what has been happening in Myanmar, her homeland, and of her unknown destiny.