During the Interactive Dialogue with Ms. Yanghee Lee, Special Rapporteur on the Situation of Human Rights in Myanmar, held in the morning of 10 March 2020 at the on-going 43rd session of the Human Rights Council in Geneva, Permanent Representative of Myanmar U Kyaw Moe Tun made a rebuttal statement as a concerned country.
In his statement, he stressed that sustainable peace and sustainable development are the two sides of the same coin that is inevitable part of the path towards democracy and apprised the Council of the Government’s utmost efforts, since taking office in 2016, in striving to realize all-round sustainable peace and development in the country despite various constraints.
He stated that Myanmar is the home of multi-ethnicity and multi-religion. Hence, concluding with ones’ own narrative without understanding the unique history and cultural background of all different communities will further create misunderstanding among different communities in the country, he continued.
Regarding the national reconciliation and peace process, he informed the Council of the positive result achieved at the 8th Joint Implementation Coordination Meeting on Nationwide Ceasefire Agreement held in January 2020 and of the 4th session of the Union Peace Conference-21st Century Penglong scheduled to be held in the first 4 months of this year.
In the endeavour to achieve sustainable development, he highlighted a number of measures taken by the Government in balancing business development and protection of human rights for responsible investment, including Business and Human Right Initiatives conducted in cooperation with UNDP and promotion of responsible business conduct cooperating with OECD and the Myanmar Centre for Responsible Business (MCRB).
Furthermore, he updated the Council on the status of several legal reforms taken place in the country, among others, including submission Bill on Prevention and Protection of Violence against Women to the Parliament.
He also added that proposed amendments of the 2008 Myanmar Constitution have being discussed heatedly at the Parliament since 25 February 2020. He said, “We are resolute for realizing our goal of a democratic federal union”. “It needs time and space”.
Speaking of the upcoming General Elections in later part of 2020, he informed the Council that measures have been taken in preparation of the elections, including cooperation withrelevant stakeholders to tackle fake news and hate speech online and offline. He also said to be mindful of the importance to strike the balance between the Right and Responsibility, so as between freedom of expression and hate speech.
Turning to the repatriation process, while sharing concern of the displaced person from Rakhine State, he mentioned that more than 300 displaced persons returned to Rakhine State from Bangladesh on their own volition though no official repatriation has taken place. He, therefore, called for Bangladesh to strictly adhere to the bilateral agreements signed between the two countries. Moreover, he underscored some of the Government efforts to create conducive environment for verified returnees in implementing quick impact projects under trilateral MoU with UNDP and UNHCR, and working with ASEAN.
He reiterated that the Special Rapporteurs must conduct its mandate in an impartial and objective manner in good faith in order to recommend for improving human rights situation of a country. Moreover, he said, “it is of paramount importance for Special Rapporteurs to listen to all sides of the stakeholders in a professional manner and to strictly adhere to the code of conduct”.
He concluded by saying that as Myanmar steps towards another phase in its history for democracy, it is important to caution that non-constructive measures, retributive actions, ill-intention are the obstacles that will only lead to disunity and mistrust among different communities of the country.—MNA