OHCHR / BACHELET MYANMAR

06-Jul-2021 00:04:29
At the 47th session of the Human Rights Council, Michelle Bachelet, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, presented an oral update on the situation of human rights in Myanmar. UNTV CH
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STORY: OHCHR / BACHELET MYANMAR
TRT: 04:29
SOURCE: UNTV CH
RESTRICTIONS: NONE
LANGUAGE: ENGLISH / NATS

DATELINE: 06 JULY 2021 GENEVA, SWITZERLAND
SHOTLIST
1. Wide shot, Palais des Nations
2. Wide shot, conference room
3. SOUNDBITE (English) Michelle Bachelet UN High Commissioner for Human Rights:
“In recent months, the situation in Myanmar has evolved from a political crisis to a multi-dimensional human rights catastrophe. Suffering and violence throughout the country are devastating prospects for sustainable development, and raise the possibility of state failure or a broader civil war.”
4. Wide shot, conference room
5. SOUNDBITE (English) Michelle Bachelet UN High Commissioner for Human Rights:
“As a coup by the Myanmar military has rapidly morphed into an attack against the civilian population that has become increasingly widespread and systematic. Nearly 900 people have been killed. Some 200,000 people have been forced to flee their homes as a result of violent military raids on neighbourhoods and villages.”
6. Wide shot, conference room
7. SOUNDBITE (English) Michelle Bachelet UN High Commissioner for Human Rights:
“The World Food Programme estimates that over 6 million people severely in need of food aid. UNDP forecasts that nearly half the population could be forced into poverty by early 2022. A void has been opened for the most harmful – and criminal – forms of illicit economy to flourish.”
8. Wide shot, conference room
9. SOUNDBITE (English) Michelle Bachelet UN High Commissioner for Human Rights:
“Since 1 February, at least 240 attacks on health-care facilities, medical personnel, ambulances and patients have seriously disabled COVID-19 testing, treatment and vaccination. Meanwhile, mass displacement and continued protests heighten the risk of contagion.”
10. Wide shot, conference room
11. SOUNDBITE (English) Michelle Bachelet UN High Commissioner for Human Rights:
“The coup has exacerbated a number of long-running conflicts in Myanmar’s borderlands. Fighting has resumed in Kachin, Kayin and northern Shan States, as well as other areas such as Chin and Kayah States that had been largely peaceful in recent years. Military forces have repeatedly conducted indiscriminate airstrikes and artillery shelling, killing civilians, displacing tens of thousands of people and destroying protected civilian structures such as schools and places of worship. Thousands of people have sought refuge in neighbouring countries.”
12. Wide shot, conference room
13. SOUNDBITE (English) Michelle Bachelet UN High Commissioner for Human Rights:
“Laws have been instrumentalized to stifle freedom of expression; curb independent media as well as social media; and arbitrarily detain at least 5,200 people. Over 90 journalists have been arrested and eight major media outlets have been closed. We have also received multiple reports of enforced disappearances; brutal torture and deaths in custody; and the arrest of relatives or children in lieu of the person being sought.”
14. Wide shot, conference room
15. SOUNDBITE (English) Michelle Bachelet UN High Commissioner for Human Rights:
“Despite these levels of repression, the military leadership has not been successfully secured control of Myanmar, nor the international recognition it seeks. On the contrary, its brutal tactics have triggered a national uprising that has changed the political equation.”
16. Wide shot, conference room
17. SOUNDBITE (English) Michelle Bachelet UN High Commissioner for Human Rights:
“But despair is rising. Some people, in many parts of Myanmar, have taken up arms and formed self-protection groups. These newly formed armed opposition groups have launched attacks in several locations, to which the security forces have responded with disproportionate force.”
18.Wide shot, conference room
19. SOUNDBITE (English) Michelle Bachelet UN High Commissioner for Human Rights:
“As the 2019 review of UN action in Myanmar by Gert Rosenthal made clear, the United Nations and its principal organs must not fail the country and its people a second time. It is incumbent on the international community to stand united in pressuring the military to halt its continuing attacks on the people of Myanmar and return the country to democracy, reflecting the clear will of the people.”
20. Wide shot, conference room
21. SOUNDBITE (English) Michelle Bachelet UN High Commissioner for Human Rights:
“While a political process is needed, ultimate accountability cannot be avoided. Continued impunity will only undermine any future democracy, reconciliation, sustainable development or progress towards stability and peace. Any future democratic government in Myanmar must have the authority to exercise effective civilian control over the military.”
22. Wide shot, conference room
STORYLINE
At the 47th session of the Human Rights Council, Michelle Bachelet, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, presented an oral update on the situation of human rights in Myanmar.

SOUNDBITE (English) Michelle Bachelet UN High Commissioner for Human Rights:
“In recent months, the situation in Myanmar has evolved from a political crisis to a multi-dimensional human rights catastrophe. Suffering and violence throughout the country are devastating prospects for sustainable development, and raise the possibility of state failure or a broader civil war.”

SOUNDBITE (English) Michelle Bachelet UN High Commissioner for Human Rights:
“What began as a coup by the Myanmar military has rapidly morphed into an attack against the civilian population that has become increasingly widespread and systematic. Nearly 900 people have been killed. Some 200,000 people have been forced to flee their homes as a result of violent military raids on neighbourhoods and villages.”

This crisis has compounded the already disastrous impact of COVID-19 on an economy that relied on remittances, the garment industry and other sectors shattered by global recession.

SOUNDBITE (English) Michelle Bachelet UN High Commissioner for Human Rights:
“The World Food Programme estimates that over 6 million people severely in need of food aid. UNDP forecasts that nearly half the population could be forced into poverty by early 2022. A void has been opened for the most harmful – and criminal – forms of illicit economy to flourish.”

A countrywide general strike, combined with the widespread dismissal of civil servants – including educators and medical personnel – have incapacitated many essential services in the country.

SOUNDBITE (English) Michelle Bachelet UN High Commissioner for Human Rights:
“Since 1 February, at least 240 attacks on health-care facilities, medical personnel, ambulances and patients have seriously disabled COVID-19 testing, treatment and vaccination. Meanwhile, mass displacement and continued protests heighten the risk of contagion.”

SOUNDBITE (English) Michelle Bachelet UN High Commissioner for Human Rights:
“The coup has exacerbated a number of long-running conflicts in Myanmar’s borderlands. Fighting has resumed in Kachin, Kayin and northern Shan States, as well as other areas such as Chin and Kayah States that had been largely peaceful in recent years. Military forces have repeatedly conducted indiscriminate airstrikes and artillery shelling, killing civilians, displacing tens of thousands of people and destroying protected civilian structures such as schools and places of worship. Thousands of people have sought refuge in neighbouring countries.”

SOUNDBITE (English) Michelle Bachelet UN High Commissioner for Human Rights:
“Laws have been instrumentalized to stifle freedom of expression; curb independent media as well as social media; and arbitrarily detain at least 5,200 people. Over 90 journalists have been arrested and eight major media outlets have been closed. We have also received multiple reports of enforced disappearances; brutal torture and deaths in custody; and the arrest of relatives or children in lieu of the person being sought.”

The UN High Commissioner welcomed the release of 2,200 prisoners last week as a first step, but this should be unconditional and followed quickly by the many thousands still arbitrarily detained, including political leaders.

SOUNDBITE (English) Michelle Bachelet UN High Commissioner for Human Rights:
“Despite these levels of repression, the military leadership has not successfully secured control of Myanmar, nor the international recognition it seeks. On the contrary, its brutal tactics have triggered a national uprising that has changed the political equation.”

At the same time, the UN high commissioner added, Myanmar's people have shown incredible resilience in organising systems of mutual solidarity and support. Transformative discussions of the future have begun which cross Myanmar’s ethnic, religious and social divides and hold promise for reconciliation.

SOUNDBITE (English) Michelle Bachelet UN High Commissioner for Human Rights:
“But despair is rising. Some people, in many parts of Myanmar, have taken up arms and formed self-protection groups . These newly formed armed opposition groups have launched attacks in several locations, to which the security forces have responded with disproportionate force.”

SOUNDBITE (English) Michelle Bachelet UN High Commissioner for Human Rights:
“I am concerned that this escalation in violence could have horrific consequences for civilians. All armed actors must respect and protect human rights and ensure that civilians and civilian structures such as health centres and schools are protected.”

The UN High Commissioner said that to find a path out of this crisis and to foster a new future for Myanmar, free from military impunity and control, it is essential that the National Unity Government and democratic civil society stakeholders be brought into any political process. Myanmar youth and women should be given a leading role.

Michelle Bachelet also emphasised the continuing need to address the situation of the Rohingya, both inside and outside the country. Despite a tenuous ceasefire in Rakhine State, there has been no material change in the conditions that would be needed for any safe or sustainable return of refugees. She welcomed the National Unity Government’s recent policy statement on Rohingya and citizenship issues, which is an important commitment to a future in which all people will have the right to their own identity, full citizenship and equality.

SOUNDBITE (English) Michelle Bachelet UN High Commissioner for Human Rights:
“As the 2019 review of UN action in Myanmar by Gert Rosenthal made clear, the United Nations and its principal organs must not fail the country and its people a second time. It is incumbent on the international community to stand united in pressuring the military to halt its continuing attacks on the people of Myanmar and return the country to democracy, reflecting the clear will of the people.”

The UN High Commissioner cited the ASEAN Five-Point Consensus as a starting point for the way forward, but she urged swift action to advance this process before the human rights situation in the country deteriorates further. This should be reinforced by Security Council action. Michelle Bachelet also urged all States to act immediately to give effect to the General Assembly’s call to prevent the flow of arms into Myanmar. And she encouraged ASEAN to seek a monitoring presence on the ground to track progress and build confidence in the process. She stated that her Office stands ready to play any role that may be required.

The UN High Commissioner said taht to ensure a peaceful solution to the crisis, and tackle its root causes, there must be a national dialogue with all stakeholders – including the military regime, the National Unity Government, ethnic armed organizations, civil society organizations, and resistance movements such as civil disobedience groups, trade unions and strike committees.

SOUNDBITE (English) Michelle Bachelet UN High Commissioner for Human Rights:
“While a political process is needed, ultimate accountability cannot be avoided. Continued impunity will only undermine any future democracy, reconciliation, sustainable development or progress towards stability and peace. Any future democratic government in Myanmar must have the authority to exercise effective civilian control over the military.”

She also said that the international community should build upon upon the range of international accountability mechanisms already engaged, until transitional justice measures also become genuinely possible at the national level.
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