Interactive Dialogue with the Special Rapporteur on the Situation of Human Rights in Myanmar

Statement by the Delegation of the United States of America
As Delivered by William J. Mozdzierz
Head of Delegation
Director of the Office of Human Rights and Humanitarian Affairs 

in the Bureau of International Organization Affairs

Human Rights Council 34th session
Geneva, March 13, 2017

Thank you Mr. Vice President,

The United States expresses strong support and gratitude to Dr. Yanghee Lee for her excellent reporting on the situation of human rights in Myanmar, particularly regarding reports of violence and displacement of Rohingya Muslims and others in northern Rakhine State as well as displacements in Kachin and Shan states.  We continue to urge the Government of Myanmar to protect local populations in these areas, investigate allegations in a thorough and credible manner, hold accountable those responsible for human rights violations, and safeguard those who report abuses.

We also share her concern regarding the arbitrary arrest and detention of journalists, ethnic and religious minorities, and civil society leaders for exercising their human rights or on the basis of their ethnicity or religious beliefs.  While we commend the government for the April 2016 mass release of political prisoners, those who remain jailed must not be forgotten.

Many victims of prior governments’ oppression remain incarcerated, including Laphai Gam, Saw War Lay, Saw Yar Ko, and Soe Moe Aung and his 11 co-defendants.

We are also concerned by new political arrests under the current government, including Khine Myo Htun, who was arrested in July 2016 on charges of sedition and incitement; Dr. Than Htut Aung and Wai Phyo Aung, who were arrested on defamation charges in November 2016; and Kachin Baptist Convention clergymen Nawng Latt and Gam Seng, who were arrested in December 2016.

We continue to support the people of Myanmar in their undertaking democratic reform and continue to urge the government to immediately and unconditionally release all political prisoners, and to drop charges against individuals for taking part in protected political activities.

This has been addressed to some degree, but Special Rapporteur Lee: How would you recommend the Government of Myanmar pursue legal reforms such that current political prisoners are released immediately, all charges against them are dropped, and no new political prisoners are arrested?

(end statement)