[Human Rights] HRC / 22nd Session, Interactive Dialogue with the Special Rapporteur on the situation of Human Rights in Myanmar
Thank you, Mr. President.
Austria fully aligns herself with the European Union statement.
We thank you, Mr. Quintana, for your timely report and today’s presentation on the situation in Myanmar.
Austria fully agrees with the central observation of your report that the ongoing process of political reform is resulting in improvements in Myanmar’s human rights situation, but that at the same time substantial challenges remain with regard to the implementation of these reforms and the protection of human rights on the ground that need the persistent efforts of the Government of Myanmar and the continued support and attention of the international community.
We welcome the releases of political prisoners and Myanmar’s commitment to set up an independent committee to review remaining cases. Nevertheless, we call on the Government to release all remaining political prisoners without delay and without conditions.
We also share your concerns with regard to the discrimination against the Rohingya minority in Rakhine State and the ongoing violations of human rights and of humanitarian law in the conflict in Kachin State. We call upon the Government of Myanmar to intensify its efforts to improve the human rights situation of all ethnic and other minority groups through effectively addressing discrimination, violence, displacement and economic deprivation. We also welcome Myanmar’s improved cooperation with the ICRC and call upon the Government to continue in this regard.
We furthermore call upon the Government to intensify its efforts at legislative reform in order to strengthen the rule of law and to ensure that all citizens can fully enjoy their human rights. Broad legislative reforms are of paramount importance in order to underpin the process of political reform with sound foundations, in particular with regard to freedom of expression and the unhindered functioning of free media, as well as to electoral laws and regulations.
We also agree with you that in order to successfully continue the process of political transformation, a truly independent and effective judiciary ensuring accountability for all human rights violations is indispensable. We therefore call on the Government to not only continue its cooperation with your mandate, but also to seek the assistance of thematic special procedures, notably the Special Rapporteur on the promotion of truth, justice, reparation & guarantees of non-recurrence and the Special Rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment. We are also convinced that the opening of an OHCHR country office will contribute positively to the process of political reform and of ensuring accountability for the human rights violations that have occurred. We therefore welcome the invitation issued by Myanmar’s President for the opening of an OHCHR office and we call on the Government to facilitate its quick set-up by all necessary means.