The United Nations Special Rapporteur on the human rights situation in Myanmar, Tomás Ojea Quintana, will undertake an official visit to the country from 11 to 21 August 2013. It will include visits to Rakhine State, Kachin State, Shan State, Chin State and Meikhtila in Mandalay Region. “The Government’s agreement to provide me with such wide-ranging access to different parts of the country will give me an excellent opportunity to assess how the human rights situation is evolving as the reform agenda moves forward,” noted the rights expert, who visits Myanmar at the invitation of the Government.
“In Rakhine State, I will be looking at the steps being taken to implement the President’s vision of developing a harmonious, multi-cultural society in Myanmar, which respects and protects the human rights of all. This will include measures to ensure that the perpetrators of human rights violations, including state officials, are held to account,” Mr. Ojea Quintana said. “I will also be looking for progress in addressing the long-standing discrimination against the Rohingya community there.”
“In Meiktila, I want to look at how the Government and religious authorities are working to bring about reconciliation and developing trust between different religious communities, and will highlight that accountability for the violent acts that occurred there last March is fundamental to this process,” he said.
“Visiting Chin State, Kachin State and Shan State will give me an opportunity to assess the human rights situation of other religious and ethnic minorities in Myanmar, and provide me with an insight into how peace negotiations are progressing,” he explained. “I will be encouraging the inclusion of clauses on the promotion and protection of human rights in future political agreements with ethnic armed groups.”
During his eleven-day visit to Myanmar, the UN Special Rapporteur intends to visit the remaining prisoners of conscience and the detained INGO humanitarian staff.
Mr. Ojea Quintana also hopes to engage the Government over its handling of persons involved in land disputes and protests against large development projects, and discuss his concerns over the impact on human rights of expanded business and industrial activity, including in relation natural resource extraction. He will also discuss ways to ensure that important pieces of legislation currently being drafted, including the Printing and Publishing Enterprise Bill and the Associations Bill, are in line with international human rights standards.
The independent expert designated by the UN Human Rights Council to monitor and report on the human rights situation in Myanmar will meet with Government officials, members of Parliament and the judiciary, the National Human Rights Commission, and civil society in Naypyitaw and Yangon.
On 21 August, at the end of his mission, Mr. Quintana will present preliminary observations at a press conference at Yangon International Airport at 1815. His full report on the visit will be presented to the General Assembly on 24 October 2013.
(*) Check the latest progress report on Myanmar by the Special Rapporteur: A/HRC/22/58
Mr. Tomás Ojea Quintana (Argentina) was appointed by the United Nations Human Rights Council in May 2008. As Special Rapporteur, he is independent from any government or organization and serves in his individual capacity. Learn more, log on to: http://www2.ohchr.org/english/countries/mm/mandate/index.htm
UN Human Rights, country page – Myanmar: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/countries/AsiaRegion/Pages/MMIndex.aspx