Australian Permanent Mission and Consulate-General
Geneva, Switzerland
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Human Rights Council - 19th Regular Session

Interactive dialogue with the Special Rapporteur on

Human Rights in Myanmar

Statement by Australia

12 March 2012

Australia would like to thank the Special Rapporteur for his efforts, and acknowledges the co-operation of the Myanmar Government with his work.

Australia appreciates that the Government of Myanmar has made important progress towards improving the human rights situation since our last statement. Much more remains to be done, and Australia supports the Special Rapporteur’s call for the international community to remain engaged to help Myanmar continue its progress.

Australia welcomes the release of many prisoners of conscience in recent months. Australia is concerned, however, by the Special Rapporteur’s findings that a number of political prisoners are still incarcerated. Australia urges Myanmar’s government to immediately release all prisoners of conscience without conditions.

Australia will be watching the April 1 by-elections closely. As the Special Rapporteur observed, it is essential that these elections are conducted freely and fairly. Australia continues to urge Myanmar to ensure democratic norms are followed, and encourages Myanmar to accept international observers to ensure greater transparency.

Australia welcomes the Special Rapporteur’s ongoing focus on ethnic conflict in Myanmar. Australia urges all sides to continue working towards the peaceful resolution of these conflicts. Australian remains concerned by reports of human rights abuses by all sides, particularly in Kachin State.

Acknowledging Myanmar’s active participation in the Universal Periodic Review process and the adoption of its outcome in June 2011, Australia continues to urge Myanmar to move towards full implementation of the recommendations of the Special Rapporteur and the Human Rights Council. We stand ready to support and assist the Government during this important time.