Statement by the Delegation of the United States of America
as delivered by Erin M. Barclay
Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for International Organization Affairs
37th Session of the Human Rights Council
Geneva, March 12, 2018
Thank you Mr. Vice President,
The United States thanks Independent Experts Darusman, Sidoti, and Coomaraswamy of the Fact-Finding Mission and Special Rapporteur Lee for their excellent work.
The United States is deeply concerned by Myanmar’s cessation of cooperation with the Special Rapporteur and continued non-cooperation with the Fact-Finding Mission. The government should immediately resume cooperation with the Special Rapporteur and allow the Fact-Finding Mission access to Myanmar.
We are appalled by the ethnic cleansing of Rohingya in northern Rakhine State. Myanmar authorities, including the armed forces, must immediately ensure unhindered humanitarian and media access; identify and hold accountable those responsible for abuses and violations; establish conditions to allow for displaced persons to safely and voluntarily return to their places of origin in Myanmar; and address root causes of systematic discrimination.
We call on the Government to implement its stated commitment to the Annan Commission recommendations, which include providing a credible path to citizenship and guaranteeing freedom of movement.
We are further concerned by violations and abuses against members of ethnic and religious minorities in Kachin and Shan States, where the security forces have reportedly committed extrajudicial killings, enforced disappearances, arbitrary arrests, torture, and forced labor against civilians, and where humanitarian access remains severely restricted. We again call for the release of Kachin pastors Nawng Latt and Gam Seng, who have been arbitrarily detained for over fourteen months for exercising their fundamental freedoms.
The United States is also concerned by heightened restrictions on peaceful assembly, freedom of expression, including for the press, and freedom of association. We call on the Myanmar authorities to fully respect these rights throughout Myanmar, including by immediately and unconditionally releasing Reuters reporters Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo.
We welcome the reporting by the Fact-Finding Mission and the Special Rapporteur, and are interested to hear more from Dr. Lee about her recommendation regarding the collection, and preservation of evidence of human rights violations and abuses. Dr. Lee: can you please elaborate on your recommendation, and how the international community can support those efforts?