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Press Release: Myanmar must owe up to its responsibilities under international law

Media Statement for Immediate Release 
4th December 2016


The Centre for Human Rights Research and Advocacy (CENTHRA) deplores the recent protest by Buddhist monks against Malaysia ahead of the Solidarity March scheduled to be held here in Kuala Lumpur today in solidarity with the Rohingya people in Myanmar.

We also condemn in the strongest terms the recent warning by the Myanmar government spokesperson, U Zaw Htay, against the Malaysian government for alleged ‘interference’ by the latter into the former’s internal affairs contrary to the ASEAN principle of non-interference. 

CENTHRA fully supports the stand of the Malaysian Ministry of Foreign Affairs in its reply thereto that the Rohingya in Myanmar are suffering from ethnic cleansing and are being driven out of Myanmar into neighbouring states, including Malaysia, thereby making the same an international concern.

CENTHRA remind Myanmar that quite apart from the ASEAN Charter, which binds members of ASEAN to international principles of human rights, in particular the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR), ASEAN also has its own declaration on human rights, namely the ASEAN Human Rights Declaration (AHRD). 

Article 4 of the Declaration states that the rights of vulnerable and marginalised groups, which includes the Rohingya, are an inalienable, integral and indivisible part of human rights and fundamental freedoms while Article 9 of the same states that the principles of impartiality, objectivity, non-selectivity, non-discrimination, non-confrontation and avoidance of double standards and politicisation should always be upheld.

Clearly, the unwarranted warning by the Myanmar government as well as the protest by radical Buddhist monks against Malaysia are an attempt at denying the Rohingya their human rights on the basis of the ethnicity amounting to partiality, non-objectivity, discrimination, confrontation, affirmation of double standards as well as politicisation contrary to the ASEAN Human Rights Declaration as well as and is thus deplorable and unacceptable. 

Myanmar must not scapegoat Malaysia, but owe up to its responsibilities under international law lest it stand accused of committing what can only be described as genocide and crimes against humanity.

CENTHRA calls upon the Myanmar government to implement, on an immediate basis, its responsibilities under the UDHR, ICCPR, ICESCR, the ASEAN Human Rights Declaration as well as the Geneva Conventions towards the Rohingya people, and cease immediately its highly disproportionate response to the Maungdaw border incident last October by imposing and continuing to impose what can only be described as collective punishment of a barbaric magnitude against Rohingyas.

Press Statement by Azril Mohd Amin, lawyer and Chief Executive of CENTHRA

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