Oral Statement at UN on Religious Freedom in Burma

CSW’s joint statement at the 31st session of the UN Human Rights Council on the state of religious freedom in Burma.

SPEAKER: SINI MARIA HEIKKILA
NGO: JUBILEE CAMPAIGN
TITLE: MYANMAR UPR ADOPTION
DATE: MARCH 2016

Thank you Mr President.

Jubilee Campaign together with Christian Solidarity Worldwide congratulates Myanmar on its engagement with the Universal Periodic Review in November 2015.

However, we are concerned that the government of Myanmar fully accepted only 135 human rights recommendations during the second UPR cycle – many of the unaccepted recommendations carry utmost importance to religious minorities and realisation of the right to freedom of religion or belief.

It remains also concerning that Myanmar refused to accept approximately 35 recommendations addressing the rights of Rohingya minority in the country. Since 2012 hate speech and violence against Muslim Rohingyas and against other religious minorities in the country has increased forcing thousands of Rohingyas to flee the country risking their lives in boats on the open sea. Others remain trapped in IDP camps in appalling humanitarian conditions. Furthermore, the Citizenship Law 1982 has continued to strip the Rohingyas of their citizenship rights.

Ethnic conflict against Kachin and Shan peoples in Myanmar has continued leaving at least 140 000 civilians displaced, 200 villages attacked and 66 churches destroyed within the last 5 years. As the judiciary system has systematically failed to hold perpetrators of abuses such as torture, forced labour, rape and sexual violence, accountable, an intervention by international community is essential in order to restore justice.

Jubilee Campaign together with Christian Solidarity Worldwide urge Myanmar to repeal discriminatory legislation including the laws protecting race and religion and the 1982 Citizenship Law and to protect and promote right to freedom of religion or belief for all faith communities and individuals.

Thank you Mr. President.