HRC38: Oral Statement on the human rights situation of the Rohingya people in Myanmar
5 July 2018 3:43 pm

 38th Regular Session of the UN Human Rights Council

Item 8: General debate on follow-up and implementation of the Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action

Oral Statement Delivered by Razia Sultana on behalf of

Asian Forum for Human Rights and Development (FORUM-ASIA)

Wednesday, 04 July 2018

Mr. President, we welcome the High Commissioner’s update. I am a Rohingya lawyer. I have interviewed hundreds of Rohingyas who fled to Bangladesh after October 2016 and 2017. My research shows clear patterns of systematic sexual violence by the Myanmar Army including gang-rape, sexual mutilation, rape and deaths resulting from such violence.  I have seen evidence of over 300 women and girls being raped by the Myanmar Army between July and September 2017 alone, this likely represents only a fraction of the total number.

Rohingya children and women in refugee camps are at high risk of being trafficked into domestic or sex work.  Recently, heavy rain and bad sanitation have led to the spread of waterborne diseases. Over the past few weeks several people died and many huts were washed away.

Hundreds of thousands of refugees barely survived what UN experts strongly suspect as genocide, after days on foot through difficult terrain, under the threat of violence. The pain they carry with them from what they faced is beyond comprehension. This pain was far better than the alternative — being burned alive or being shot after physical assault and rape in front of their children and family members. As indicated in the High Commissioner’s update such violence, and persecution still continues in Rakhine state.

This crisis can only be solved by addressing root causes that led to this. Victims and survivors cannot return home without accountability and justice as well as guarantees of security, equal rights, full citizenship and recognition of the Rohingya identity. It is critical that victims are consulted and included in all UN and government efforts that may determine their fates. We ask the High Commissioner how all UN agencies dealing with this crisis could be more consultative and base their action on root causes and human rights guarantees?

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For a PDF version of this statement, click here.