Human rights expert urges Myanmar to address shortcomings before they become entrenched

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Tomás Ojea Quintana

Authorities in Myanmar have been urged to address shortcomings in the country's human rights situation before they become entrenched.

The call has come from Tomás Ojea Quintana, the United Nations independent expert on the human rights situation in Myanmar during his report to the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva on Monday.

He said that continuing reforms in the country are resulting in ongoing improvements on the human rights situation.

However he warned that a large gap still remains between reform at the top and implementation on the ground as the country moves from military rule to democracy.

Mr. Quintana said ensuring that people play a greater role in shaping the transition in Myanmar requires the amendment of legislation so that people are no longer arrested and imprisoned for peaceful assembly.

"It requires ensuring that new legislation such as the proposed Printing and Publishing Law does not claw back advances in freedom of expression. It includes repealing legislation that remains a legacy from previous military governments such as the 1908 Unlawful Association Act and it requires capacity for the police and army personnel so that people are no longer beaten for the acts of peacefully expressing their views. This reform process must address these shortfalls now." (33)

Mr. Quintana also stressed the need to address discrimination against the Rohingya in Rakhine State and the ongoing human rights violations in relation to the conflict in Rachin State.

Derrick Mbatha, United Nations.

Duration: 1'48"

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