Myanmar’s Response on the Report of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights entitled “Summary of the panel discussion on the measures necessary to find durable solutions to the Rohingya crisis and to end all forms of human rights violations and abuses against Rohingya Muslims and other minorities in Myanmar” submitted to the 55th Session of Human Rights Council

(23 February 2024, Geneva)

It is observed that the panel and its report neglect the root causes of displacement of people from Rakhine State in 2017 and largely cover up brutal killings and atrocities committed by the terrorists on Muslim village leaders as well as other ethnic minorities, including hundreds of innocent Hindus in the Rakhine State. Nonetheless, recent killings, violence, and life threats by the terrorists in the camps in Bangladesh side have revealed that terrorists and extremists are active there and prevent the repatriation process between Myanmar and Bangladesh. In addition, the conclusions and recommendations contained in the report of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights are unreasonable and unrealistic.

The report and panellists further mislead the international community regarding citizenship issue. In Myanmar, whoever wishes to become a citizen of Myanmar can apply for it and those who meet criteria set out in the 1982 citizenship law will be granted citizenship status. It should be noted that there are instigators who threaten the community not to apply for citizenship but to ask for ethnicity status under the name of the so-called “Rohingya” which is an indirect way of asking for territorial claim. That demand goes far beyond obtaining the rights of a citizen and thus, it is unacceptable. Besides, the people of Myanmar and successive governments do not recognize the term “Rohingya” which is neither legally supported nor included in British colonial official records.

The Government of Myanmar attaches great importance to the humanitarian cause by assuring all available assistance reaches to the needy population across Myanmar including Rakhine State without discrimination. The Government’s efforts in humanitarian aid delivery are accompanied by its facilitation in international assistance including cooperation with the United Nations and the AHA Center. Disaster preparedness measures, drills, and awareness raising activities, emergency management exercises that focused on rehabilitation tasks were continuously carried out a week prior to the Cyclone Mocha in different townships and villages in respective states and regions. No internally displaced communities in the Rakhine state were neglected pre-, during and post-Mocha Cyclone.

Most of the United Nations Agencies including UNDP, UN Women, UNICEF, UNOPS, UNHCR, WFP, IOM, INGOs and NGOs have been operating as the UN agencies and INGOs have maintained their field offices including in Sittway, Ann, Yathaetaung, Maungdaw, Mrauk-U, Kyauktaw, Mye pon and Minpyar of Rakhine State. Merely in 2023, the Rakhine State Government has granted 27 travel authorizations to UNOCHA, 49  to UNHCR, 43 to UNICEF, 129 to WFP and 311 travel authorizations to INGOs while ICRC was allowed to travel for over 200 times. Facilitating several UN high-level officials’ visits to Myanmar during 2023 paves the way to strengthen the current cooperation between Myanmar and the UN as well as facilitation for provision of humanitarian assistance. For instance, Mr. Raouf Mazou, Assistant High Commissioner for Operations of the UNHCR visited Myanmar in November 2023 and he visited many places in Maungdaw and Sittwe townships.

Myanmar is keeping up its efforts for the repatriation of the displaced persons from Rakhine State in accordance with the bilateral instruments and it has always been ready to receive verified displaced persons as agreed upon and has been preparing to provide humanitarian assistance, to resettle in designated villages, to create livelihood opportunities, to provide healthcare from Public Health Medical Teams assigned at the clinics located at the respective villages, to pursue the basic education. Furthermore, according to the Arrangement of Return of Persons from Rakhine State signed between Myanmar and Bangladesh in November 2017, Myanmar will issue the required documents to all returnees at reception centers after verification and registration.

It is observed that the report’s recommendations further focus on imposing economic sanctions on Myanmar and it should be noted that non-constructive measures and retributive actions will only lead to further polarization of the communities and deterioration of the socio-economic circumstances of the general public. The panel report is generally more concerned with criticizing the prerogative of a sovereign state rather than addressing the root causes in Rakhine State.

Holding unnecessary panel discussion at the Human Rights Council made excessive burden to the Council itself. The panel discussion only served as a platform dividing Myanmar’s pluralist community without bringing any benefit to address the issue. A noninclusive panel in the absence of country-concerned and different opinions made the panel one-sided and unbalanced. As such, the Permanent Mission of Myanmar categorically rejects the above mentioned report.

Permanent Mission of the Republic of the Union of Myanmar to the United Nations Office and other International Organizations