FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – February 22, 2019
[NEW YORK, NY] – Today, the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (“Committee”) will meet to discuss Myanmar’s Exceptional Report on the situation of Rohingya women and girls from northern Rakhine State. The Committee requested the Exceptional Report months after Myanmar’s Security Forces launched a massive attack on Rohingya civilians in August 2017, destroying almost 400 villages and forcing over 700,000 Rohingya to flee to Bangladesh. This was only the fourth time the Committee had requested an Exceptional Report since its founding in 1982.
Myanmar’s report, submitted to the Committee earlier this month, demonstrates Myanmar’s unwillingness to acknowledge the international crimes committed against the Rohingya and its inability to ensure justice for these crimes. Myanmar’s authorities—civilian and military alike—have failed to demonstrate any intention to investigate or hold perpetrators accountable. In fact, Myanmar has variously denied any wrongdoing, ignored the problem, and failed to conduct genuine investigations or impose sanctions to ensure accountability on perpetrators of these crimes. For instance, Myanmar’s report dismissed accusations of rape and sexual violence committed by its Security Forces as “wild claims” despite extensive documentation by the United Nations’ Fact-Finding Mission on Myanmar, the United States Department of State,and many international human rights organizations.
The Global Justice Center, European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights, and Women’s Initiatives for Gender Justice have submitted a joint letter to the Committee outlining the report’s particularly concerning sections and highlighting the risk that Myanmar will attempt to derail accountability efforts. Myanmar’s blanket denials that such crimes occurred underscore the reality that accountability can only be achieved through international mechanisms.
“Myanmar's recent report fits within a well-worn pattern of denial. The military has committed atrocities against all of the country’s ethnic minorities for decades and is protected by guarantees of impunity enshrined in Myanmar's constitution,” says Global Justice Center President Akila Radhakrishnan. “Until these provisions are changed, justice and accountability at the national level are impossible.”
The Global Justice Center (GJC) is an international human rights organization, with consultative status to the United Nations, dedicated to advancing gender equality through the rule of law. We combine advocacy with legal analysis, working to ensure equal protection of the law for women and girls. GJC has worked on issues related to justice and accountability in Burma, particularly for sexual violence against ethnic women, since 2005.
The European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights (ECCHR) is an independent, non-profit legal and educational organization dedicated to enforcing civil and human rights worldwide. Together with affected persons and partners worldwide, we use legal means to end impunity of those responsible for torture, massacre, sexualized violence, corporate exploitation and fortressed borders. In June 2018, ECCHR together with the Women’s Initiatives for Gender Justice and Bangladeshi partners submitted a report on sexualized violence against Rohingya women to the International Criminal Court.
Women’s Initiatives for Gender Justice is an international NGO working for a gender just world in which there is accountability for sexual and gender-based crimes by the International Criminal Court and other mechanisms, both internationally and nationally, and in which there is equality in and through the law.
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