Sweden’s Ambassador for Human Rights Must Raise Violations in Upcoming Visit to Myanmar

Civil Rights Defenders and The Swedish Burma Committee in a joint letter to Annika Ben David, Sweden’s Ambassador for Human Rights, urge that the following recommendations regarding widespread human rights violations are brought to the table in all dialogues with the Burmese Government.

The trip on 22 May 2017 takes place in an atmosphere that has recently seen the country’s leader Aung San Suu Kyi reject a decision by the UN’s rights council to investigate allegations of crimes by Myanmar’s security forces against minority Rohingya Muslims.


On the Situation in Northern Rakhine State and Protection for the Rohingya:

  • Urge the Government of Myanmar to ensure full and unfettered access to Northern Rakhine State, including for humanitarian agencies, civil society and human rights groups, and journalists;
  • Urge the Government of Myanmar to cooperate fully with the United Nations Fact Finding Mission, including by allowing unimpeded access to requested areas and ensuring that those who cooperate with the Mission are protected from reprisal;
  • Push the Government of Myanmar to remove all restrictions on freedom of movement for the Rohingya that has led to adverse impact on basic livelihood including health and education;
  • Ensure equal access to citizenship for the Rohingya and amend the 1982 Citizenship Law.

On Ethnic Violence and Conflict

  • Urge the Government of Myanmar to allow full and unfettered access to humanitarian aid organisations to all internally displaced persons in need of humanitarian assistance in conflict-effected areas;
  • Urge the Government to ensure that the repatriation of IDPs and refugees takes place in alignment with international standards, including the UN Guiding Principles on Internal Displacement and the 1951 Refugees Convention, and to ratify the Refugees Convention;
  • Urge a prompt and impartial investigation into all allegations of human rights abuses and violations of international humanitarian law and ensure that impunity for armed forces does not continue to prevail;
  • Urge the government to take effective measures to prevent and respond to all forms of sexual violence in conflict

On Freedom of Speech and Protection for Human Rights Defenders

  • Urge the Government of Myanmar to release all political prisoners and drop all charges against those facing politically motivated charges;
  • Urge the reform and prompt repeal of laws that are used to persecute human rights defenders and others critical of both the government and military, including 66(d) of the Telecommunications Act, the Penal Code and other repressive legislation used to fuel politically motivated arrest and detention;
  • Urge the Government of Myanmar to sign and ratify the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR)
  • Urge the tangible reform of the Myanmar National Human Rights Commission and ensure that its mandate is aligned with the UN Paris Principles including maintaining a genuinely independent composition. Urge the Commission to actively investigate human rights abuses rather than being an awareness raising body.