Myanmar: UN expert encouraged by Malaysian leadership on Myanmar crisis; urges States in the region to adopt a similar position
KUALA LUMPUR (23 June 2022) – The United Nations Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Myanmar, Tom Andrews, today expressed his gratitude for Malaysia’s growing leadership on the Myanmar crisis and urged states in the region to take a similar approach to the human rights catastrophe unfolding under military rule.
“There is too much at stake for Myanmar and its people to accept the complacency and inaction of the international community,” Andrews said in a statement after an eight-day visit to Malaysia.
“Junta forces have killed more than 2,000 civilians, arrested more than 14,000, displaced more than 700,000, pushing the number of internally displaced people to more than one million, and plunged the country into an economic and humanitarian crisis that threatens the lives and well-being of millions of people. .
“The attacks by the army against the people of Myanmar constitute crimes against humanity and war crimes. No one has been spared the impact of military violence.
Andrews said that even before the coup, the Burmese military had committed atrocities against the Burmese people. “The Rohingyas have been victims of genocidal attacks by Myanmar’s security forces. I learned that there are more than 104,000 registered Rohingya in Malaysia who have fled Myanmar in search of safe haven along with countless unregistered people.
“My mission here has provided me with a unique opportunity to sit face to face with dozens of brave men, women and children. who have fled the horrors that have engulfed many parts of Myanmar, including those who have recently arrived in Malaysia. They provided me with first-hand accounts of what they saw or experienced directly. These stories, without exception, underscored the terror raging across the country
“A young woman said to me, ‘You are walking down a path you don’t know, to a place you don’t know, and you might die on the way, but you go ahead anyway, because the persecution is worse behind you. ‘.
Those who fled Myanmar also spoke to Andrews about the challenges they faced in Malaysia, citing fears of being sent to immigration detention, insufficient educational opportunities for their children and instances of extortion by police officers. .
“Let’s be clear, the refugees from Myanmar are here because they were forced to come here. Their inability to return home to Myanmar is directly linked to the human rights abuses committed by the military junta and the war against the people of Myanmar. It is impossible to address the issues of those seeking refuge in Malaysia and other countries in the region without directly and effectively addressing the crisis inside Myanmar,” Andrews said.
Not only does Malaysia recognize this fact, but it has been willing, through the words and actions of Foreign Minister Saifuddin, to challenge ASEAN to reconsider its current policy towards Myanmar, the expert said. the UN, adding that Foreign Minister Saifuddin had called on ASEAN to move from a policy of “non-interference” to, in his words, a policy of “non-indifference”.
“Malaysia has expressed the obvious fact that after more than a year nothing has changed and as nothing has changed more people are being killed and more people are being forced to flee the country,” Andrews said. .
He not only called on ASEAN to engage with Myanmar’s national unity government, he began engaging with the national unity government’s foreign minister, Zin Mar Aung, Andrews said.
“I look forward to working to support Malaysia’s foreign policy leadership on Myanmar, to affirm the human rights of a beleaguered people and to reduce the incredible scale of human suffering in Myanmar.”
Mr. Thomas Andrews, Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Myanmar;
Special rapporteurs, independent experts and working groups are part of what are called special procedures of the Human Rights Council. The Special Procedures, the largest body of independent experts in the United Nations human rights system, is the general name for the Council’s independent fact-finding and monitoring mechanisms that address either specific national situations or issues themes in all regions of the world. Special Procedures experts work on a voluntary basis; they are not UN staff and do not receive a salary for their work. They are independent of any government or organization and serve in their individual capacity.
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