10 November 2017, GENEVA – The Executive Director of the Geneva Centre for Human Rights Advancement and Global Dialogue (hereinafter “The Geneva Centre”) Ambassador Idriss Jazairy emphasized - during a lecture on 10 November at the Oxford Centre for Islamic Studies - that the denial of equal citizenship rights to the Rohingya population is breeding radicalization and inter-communal violence in Myanmar.
Although Myanmar’s recent political reforms and “opening to the world” have brought welcome change and transformation to the country, the Muslim population in the State of Rakhine continues to be denied access to basic human rights as the “1982 nationality code was not changed” stated Ambassador Jazairy. The 2008 Constitution is also impeding the realization of full citizenship rights for the Rohingyas. In this context, the Geneva Centre’s Executive Director said:
“The 2008 Constitution distinguishes between citizens and associated citizens with benefit of jus soli only for 3rd generation immigrants. It is reminiscent of Ancient Greece. In those days citizens co-habited with other natives of inferior status.
“Such provisions are also an expression of the refusal of diversity which prevails under different pretexts in modern times. This refusal seldom extends however, as it does in Myanmar, to denial of citizenship, in other words, to denial of the right to have rights.”
In his deliberation at the Oxford Centre for Islamic Studies, Ambassador Jazairy also noted that promises to end the outflow of Rohingya refugees heading towards neighbouring Bangladesh have not been met, despite Myanmar’s State Counsellor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi pledge to redress the situation by 5 September 2017 and to provide unfettered access to the Special Rapporteur on Myanmar.
Even though the humanitarian crisis in Myanmar has reached an unprecedented level since the outbreak of hostilities in 2012, Ambassador Jazairy denounced a “total absence of foresight from the international community on the implications of not attending to a festering crisis.” “It should have been expected” – he noted – “that inaction on its part would foster radicalization which is what happened.”
He further observed that Resolution 29/21 of 22 July 2015 was the only resolution adopted by the UN Human Rights Council dealing specifically with the gross human rights violations inflicted on the Rohingya Muslims. Ambassador Jazairy said: “All other resolutions, whether from the General Assembly or from the Council limit themselves to mentioning in general terms ‘The situation of human rights in Myanmar.’”
Against this background, the Geneva Centre’s Executive Director echoed the UN Secretary General’s statement on 28 September 2017 to the UN Security Council that the time had come for action. He appealed to the Human Rights Council to address more specifically the situation of the Rohingya Muslims in its forthcoming sessions. Ambassador Jazairy likewise called upon the government of Myanmar to permit UN’s Myanmar Fact-Finding mission to visit the Rakhine State in line with the provisions set forth in UN Human Rights Council Resolution 34/22 of 24 March 2017.
The forthcoming holding of a Special Session on the Rohingyas in Myanmar at the UN Human Rights Council – following an appeal made by the Geneva Centre’s Executive Director on 11 and 12 October to all member States of the UN Human Rights Council – is a step in the right direction to address the plight of the Rohingya population in Myanmar.
“The Geneva Centre addressed an appeal to all member States of the Human Rights Council on 11 and 12 October 2017 to convene a Special Session on the situation of the Rakhine Muslims urgently. This appeal has been heard and the date of 23 November was put forward for this important meeting,” emphasized Ambassador Jazairy.
The Geneva Centre’s Executive Director also recommended that the title of the forthcoming Special Session be “Situation of human rights of Rohingya Muslims and other minorities in Myanmar” which would correspond to the title of Resolution 29/21 adopted by the UN Human Rights Council on 22 July 2015.
He concluded his intervention stating that: “The crisis situation of the Rohingyas in Myanmar is a reminder that diversity in modern times cannot be stamped out. Like a pressure cooker on a hot plate, it needs a safety valve or it explodes. This is also a reminder that ethnic cleansing under any form is not an alternative to, but is also a harbinger of violence.”
About the Geneva Centre for Human Rights Advancement and Social Dialogue:
The Geneva Centre, an organization with special consultative status with the United Nations Economic and Social Council, is a think tank dedicated to the promotion of human rights through cross-cultural, political, religious and civilizational dialogue between the Global North and Global South, and through training of the upcoming generations of stakeholders in the Arab region. The Centre works towards a value-driven human rights system, steering clear of politicization and building bridges between different narratives thereon of the Global North and of the Global South. Its aim is to act as a platform for dialogue between a variety of stakeholders involved in the promotion and protection of human rights.
For more information, please visit http://www.gchragd.org/
Bakground note on the human rights situation of the Rohingya minority in Myanmar