Myanmar’s third-cycle report on human rights issue reviewed at 37th session of UPR

The 37th Session of Work Group on the Universal Periodic Review discussed Myanmar’s third-cycle national report on human rights on 25 January 2021.

The review session took place at the building of United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland, on 25 January 2021. The Myanmar delegation led by Union Attorney-General U Tun Tun Oo joined it via videoconferencing from Nay Pyi Taw, and U Myint Thu, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary, Permanent Representative of Myanmar to UNOG and party took part the event from Geneva.

In making discussions, the Union Attorney-General discussed the focus of Myanmar on human rights issue in establishing a Democracy Federal Union, fundamental needs of peace, socio-economic development, the rule of law and human rights in working for the genuine democratic system, signing the Nationwide Ceasefire Agreement with the ethnic armed organizations to end the 70-year internal armed conflicts of the country, the successful holding of the 4th session of the Union Peace Conference—21st Century Panglong, amendment, cancellation and enactment of 185 laws in the five-year term, carrying out the Myanmar Sustainable Development Plan, the COVID-19 Economic Relief Plan of Myanmar aimed not to leave anyone behind across the country, adopting judiciary sector reform strategy and the leading role of the Union Auditor-General Office and the Court Martial in conducting investigation and taking legal actions against the crimes in accordance with the Independent Commission of Enquiry report.

He also said that the Office of President issued a directive in relation to preventing the instigation of acts of hate speech and violence, progress in developing a law to prevent hate speech, holding of General Election in November 2020. He also expressed thanks to the partner countries and organizations which are supporting Myanmar in its democratic transition processes. The 107 UN member countries discussed and made suggestions on the third-cycle report of Myanmar.

In response to the discussions, Myanmar representatives talked about the government’s good democratic practices, good governance, responsibility and accountability, accelerating reform processes in management, economy and social sectors for the emergence of a Democratic Federal Union, efforts on anti-corruption and the rule of law, creating of a new political culture to be able to solve conflicts through negotiations by adopting peace plans for the post-2020, implementation of recommendations in the report of Advisory Commission on Rakhine State, closure of IDP camps, emphasis on education and health sector and repatriation programmes of displaced persons in line with bilateral agreements with Bangladesh.

Director-General Daw Marlar Than Htaik from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs discussed providing humanitarian assistance in collaboration with the United Nations, preparations for participating in international human rights agreements; Deputy Director-General Dr Thida Tin from the Ministry of Information held talks about works for enactment of a law in relation to prevention of hate speech and media freedom; Deputy-Director General Dr Aung Moe Chal from the Ministry of Investment and Foreign Economic Relations about the responsible business that covers economy, human rights and environmental conservation; Director-General U Ko Lay Win from the Ministry of Education about education, health and freedom of belief, Brig-Gen Aung Htay Myint from the Ministry of Home Affairs about anti-terrorism efforts, anti-trafficking in persons, prisoner issue; Director-General Dr San San Aye from the Ministry of Social Welfare, Relief and Resettlement about closure of IDPs, gender equality, women rights, child rights and the rights of persons with disabilities; Permanent Secretary from the Office of Union-Attorney General Dr Thida Oo, reviewing processes of the existing laws, reforms in judiciary sector, anti-corruption, the rule of law, legal protection for human right activists, freedom of speech, rights for peaceful gathering and protests, land dispute issue; Director-General from the Ministry of Labour, Immigration and Population U Nyunt Win about labour rights, prevention of forced labour and social security fund and citizenship issues.

After reviewing the report, U Tun Tun Oo, the Head of Myanmar delegation, expressed his appreciation to the countries that gave constructive recommendations on the report of Myanmar which is focusing on diversity and peaceful co-existence in implementing human rights in the country with diverse national races. He also said that Myanmar would continue cooperation with international organizations and civil society organizations in creating a good environment with social harmony among the people. The Union Attorney-General said that the processes of UPR would be helpful for Myanmar in addressing human right issues.

The initial document of UPR work group in relation to Myanmar’s report will be approved on 29 January 2021 and the implementation of recommendations and the progress of human rights situations will be assessed on the 4th cycle report in 2025.