The ICJ today organized a diplomatic dialogue, in advance of the Universal Periodic Review (UPR), with ambassadors and high-level diplomatic representatives, to share the state of human rights in Myanmar.
The event also aimed at working on specific, actionable recommendations to the government to effectively address human rights violations and provide redress.
With an improper regulatory regime for investment and environmental protection, and with investment coming into a legal vacuum in Myanmar, economic development has risked undermining human rights protection and access to remedy, especially impacting on economic, social and cultural rights.
In turn, this situation has created conditions for further human rights abuses in Myanmar.
In its UPR stakeholder submission, the ICJ drew the attention of the Human Rights Council’s (HRC) Working Group on the UPR, and that of the HRC itself, to the organization’s concerns about the independence of the judiciary and legal profession, the lack of legislation adequately protecting human rights and the environment, discriminatory laws targeting women and minorities, and the writ of habeas corpus in Myanmar.
While it is the judiciary’s responsibility to provide remedy for human rights abuses and bring perpetrators to justice, Myanmar’s judiciary faces continued challenges to assert its independence from the other branches of government that interfere and influence its role.
A severe lack of resources has led to structural problems, crippling the legal profession and leaving several judges unfamiliar with court procedures and jurisprudence.
The quartet of laws to “protect race and religion” – clearly discriminatory of religious and gender grounds – are hastily being signed into law, even though they fail to accord with international human rights principles, including Myanmar’s legal obligations as a state party to the CEDAW and CRC.
The 23rd session of the United Nations Working Group will meet to next review Myanmar on 6 November 2015.
The diplomatic dialogue aimed to provide the international human rights organizations with an opportunity to reiterate their key UPR recommendations and provide any relevant updates since the stakeholder submissions; and for all participants to discuss plans of multilateral lobbying ahead of the UPR Working Group session in Geneva.
Danish Ambassador Peter Lysholt-Hansen hosted the event at the Nordic House. Members of the diplomatic community who attended the dialogue included those from USA, the EU, Canada, Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Germany, France, Vietnam, Malaysia and Australia.
The ICJ was joined in a panel by other international human rights organizations – the International Bar Association, Human Rights Watch, and Amnesty International – who all presented on various pressing human rights issues confronting Myanmar.
ICJ’s diplomatic dialogue will complement a similar event to be held in Yangon later this year, which will be organized by the UPR-Info with local non-governmental organizations.
The ICJ’s UPR stakeholder submission for Myanmar can be found here.
A briefer on ICJ’s specific, actionable recommendations to the HRC, and the Working Group can be found here.