Myanmar: the actions of the authorities on the ground remain insufficient [fr]
Statement by Mr. François Delattre, Permanent Representative of France to the United Nations
Security Council – 28 February 2019
Allow me, first of all, to thank the Special Envoy of the Secretary-General, Ms. Christine Schraner Burgener, for her enlightening briefing to the Security Council, as well as for her commitment and untiring work to find a lasting solution to the crisis in Rakhine state. I would also like to welcome the presence among us of the Foreign Secretary of Bangladesh.
France remains very concerned about the situation of the Rohingya, whether they are still in Rakhine state or living as refugees in camps in Bangladesh. Despite some announcements, which are first steps, the actions of the Myanmar authorities on the ground remain insufficient. France hopes for more progress, particularly in three priority areas.
The first priority is humanitarian support for the Rohingyas and the internally displaced persons still in Arakan and for refugees in camps in Bangladesh. The Burmese authorities must immediately establish safe, full and unhindered humanitarian access to Rakhine state for the United Nations and all humanitarian actors. While the renewed tensions observed in early January following the attacks by the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army certainly illustrates the complexity of the situation, it remains essential to work on ways to establish permanent humanitarian access in order to assist the people still in Rakhine state. Rohingya internally displaced persons must be allowed total freedom of movement and full access, without discrimination, to basic services. Those essential conditions for the voluntary, safe, dignified and sustainable return of the Rohingya refugees have thus far not been met. We commend the exceptional generosity of the authorities and the people of Bangladesh, as well as the outstanding work done by United Nations agencies and humanitarian organizations.
The second priority continues to be the fight against impunity. We still have no guarantee that the commission of inquiry set up last summer is truly able to carry out independent, credible and impartial investigations. That is what we are seeking. The conclusions of the fact-finding mission, presented to the Council in October (see S/PV.8381) are unambiguous. We must act accordingly by cooperating fully with the International Criminal Court and the investigation mechanism created by the Human Rights Council. Serious violations against civilians, including women and children, cannot go unpunished. In that regard, we hope that the Special Representative of the Secretary-General on Sexual Violence in Conflict, Ms. Pramila Patten, will soon be able to report back to the Security Council on her recent visit to Burma. It is also essential that the Working Group on Children and Armed Conflict be able to adopt conclusions on Burma and the other situations on the Security Council’s agenda, and that the Council’s recommendations be followed up with concrete action to benefit children and the fight against impunity.
Finally, the third priority concerns the recommendations of the Annan Advisory Commission on Rakhine State, in particular those on citizenship and equal rights. Despite the establishment of a committee to implement those recommendations, there has thus far been no tangible improvement in the situation of the most vulnerable communities. The Burmese authorities must demonstrate, through concrete measures, their willingness to restore trust between communities and provide a lasting solution to the crisis. Those measures should include effective access to public, health-care and education services for all persons belonging to the Rohingya community and freedom of movement for all communities.
For all those reasons, and echoing the remarks of previous speakers, particularly my British colleague and friend, France believes that the Security Council must remain fully mobilized to ensure close monitoring of the implementation of its presidential statement of November 2017 (S/PRST/2017/22). The dialogue established between the United Nations and the Burmese authorities, particularly since the arrival of Special Envoy eight months ago, must now be translated into a concrete improvement in the situation of the affected populations. In that regard, France reiterates its full support for the Special Envoy of the Secretary-General in the pursuit of her mandate.
In conclusion, I would like to express to you, Mr. President, and your team, our most heartfelt thanks and congratulations on your excellent presidency throughout the month of February.