UN Independent International Fact-Finding Mission on Myanmar advances accountability and initiates new investigations
GENEVA The UN Independent International Fact-Finding Mission on Myanmar is continuing its investigations into serious human rights violations and abuses, including crimes under international law committed in Myanmar since 2011 and preparing to present its final report to the September 2019 session of the Human Rights Council.
There has been little progress in the human rights situation in Myanmar since we presented to the Human Rights Council, General Assembly and Security Council at the end of last year. The human rights crisis in Myanmar is far from over, stated Marzuki Darusman, Chair of the Fact-Finding Mission. To the contrary, the fighting continues in Rakhine and in the Northern States of Kachin and Shan and tensions are escalating in other regions. Human rights violations have not stopped, nor are victims seeing justice. There is an acute need to continue to thoroughly document the patterns of violations being committed, as we speak.
As a result of the serious nature of the findings of the Fact-Finding Mission, the Human Rights Council also established the Independent Mechanism (IM) on Myanmar. The new mechanism will build on the important work of the Fact-Finding Mission by collecting, consolidating, preserving and analysing evidence of the most serious crimes and violations of international law committed in Myanmar since 2011. It is further tasked with preparing files to facilitate and expedite fair and independent criminal proceedings, in accordance with international law. The Fact-Finding Mission has been given the added responsibility of handing over the information it collects to the IM, once it becomes operational in the course of 2019.
We very much welcome the new mechanism, which will play an important role in accountability stated Radhika Coomaraswamy another Expert of the Mission. In the meantime, our work as the Fact-Finding Mission continues, she added. We also need to keep impressing upon the Government of Myanmar the need to implement our recommendations and to hold those responsible for serious human rights violations and abuses, including crimes under international law to account. We also need to continue to deepen our investigations and present accurate, verified and reliable facts. This will be essential for longer-term justice and accountability the Experts said.
During their recent mission to Geneva from 4 to 8 March 2019, the Experts of the Fact-Finding Mission undertook a wide range of consultations in relation to their continuing investigations and hand-over functions. In this next phase, the Fact-Finding Mission will focus on consolidating its findings in relation to the serious crimes under international law identified in its September 2018 report. It will also look into geographic areas and human rights issues that require further investigations, with a view to strengthening existing findings, stated Chris Sidoti, the other Expert of the Mission.
The Fact-Finding Mission, supported by a team of experienced human rights and legal officers, is accepting submissions from interested individuals, groups and organisations. In this context, the Fact-Finding Mission is particularly interested in receiving information from 2011 onward on sexual and gender-based violence as well as the situation of ethnic minorities. The information should be sent by 1 June 2019 to email@example.com.
The Human Rights Council on 24 March 2017 decided (through Resolution A/HRC/RES/34/22) to dispatch urgently an independent international fact-finding mission, to be appointed by the President of the Human Rights Council, to establish the facts and circumstances of the alleged recent human rights violations by military and security forces, and abuses, in Myanmar, in particular in Rakhine State, including but not limited to arbitrary detention, torture and inhuman treatment, rape and other forms of sexual violence, extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary killings, enforced disappearances, forced displacement and unlawful destruction of property, with a view to ensuring full accountability for perpetrators and justice for victims.
Marzuki Darusman, lawyer and human rights campaigner and former Attorney-General of Indonesia, is chair of the fact-finding mission. The other two members of the fact-finding mission are Radhika Coomaraswamy, a lawyer and former UN Special Rapporteur on Violence against Women and UN Special Representative for Children and Armed Conflict; and Christopher Sidoti, international human rights lawyer and former Australian Human Rights Commissioner.
Source: UN Human Rights Council