Human Rights Council – 22nd Regular Session
Interactive dialogue with the Special Rapporteur on Human Rights in Myanmar
11 March 2013
Australia would like to thank the Special Rapporteur for his efforts, and acknowledges the Myanmar Government’s co-operation in support of his valuable work.
Australia appreciates the important progress made by the Myanmar Government towards improving the human rights situation since our last statement. The April 2012 by-elections which saw Aung San Suu Kyi and her National League for Democracy colleagues enter parliament were a particularly important step on the road to democracy.
We welcome also the introduction of laws that grant new labour rights and rights of freedom of association and expression and the relaxation of media censorship laws.
Australia welcomes progress towards peace with armed ethnic groups, while noting that a great deal remains to be done. We are especially concerned about reports of ongoing issues in Rakhine and Kachin States.
Australia is encouraged by preliminary talks held between the Myanmar Government and the Kachin Independence Organisation on 4 February and urges all sides to continue working towards the peaceful resolution of this conflict.
Australia welcomes also the Myanmar Government’s commitment to redouble its efforts to halt communal violence in Rakhine State, provide humanitarian assistance to victims and deal with the perpetrators of the violence in accordance with the law. We support the Special Rapporteur’s call for the Myanmar Government to address the citizenship issue.
Australia was pleased to note the release of over 750 political prisoners since 2011 and urges Myanmar’s Government to immediately release all remaining prisoners of conscience without conditions. In this regard, we commend the Myanmar Government’s commitment to establish a special commission to review and release remaining political prisoners.
Australia continues to encourage 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 Myanmar on its journey of reform at this important time.