UN experts want 'exceptional report' on Rakhine

Rohingya Muslim refugees walk through the Kutupalong refugee camp in Cox's Bazar on November 27, 2017. Photo: Ed Jones/AFP

A group of UN experts tasked with monitoring a global treaty on discrimination against women has requested an 'exceptional report' from the Myanmar government on the situation of Rohingya women and girls from northern Rakhine State.

The Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) arrived at the decision at a regular meeting in Geneva last week, setting a six-month deadline for the submission of the report to the UN Secretary General. 

The request was sent to the Government of Myanmar on Monday, meaning the report should be submitted by 28 May 2018. It is only the fourth time an exceptional report has been requested by the Committee since holding its first session in October 1982.

The Committee, comprised of 23 independent human rights experts drawn from around the world, called on the Government to provide information on a range of issues surrounding alleged instances of violence against women and girls in northern Rakhine State in recent months.

As a party to the Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women, Myanmar is obliged to report to the Committee on its implementation of the treaty.

The Committee requested information concerning cases of sexual violence, including rape, against Rohingya women and girls by State security forces; and to provide details on the number of women and girls who have been killed or have died due to other non-natural causes during the latest outbreak of violence.

It also requested information on investigations, arrests, prosecutions, convictions and sentences or disciplinary measures imposed on perpetrators, including members of the armed forces, found guilty of such crimes.

The Committee also requested information on:

  • the designation of the battalions that have undertaken the clearance operations in Northern Rakhine State since 25 August 2017 and under whose command;
  • the findings of the final report of the Tatmadaw investigation team led by Lieutenant-General Aye Whin concerning the conduct of the armed forces during the security clearance operations;
  • whether instructions have been or are being issued to all branches of the State security forces that torture, gender-based violence, including rape and other forms of sexual violence, expulsions and other human rights violations are prohibited and that those responsible will be prosecuted and punished;
  • the gender-specific measures taken by the State party to rehabilitate and compensate Rohingya women and girls who are victims/survivors of such violence;
  • the remedies available to Rohingya women and girls to claim violations of their rights;
  • the number of Rohingya women and girls currently detained by State security forces;
  • the number of Rohingya women and girls who have died during childbirth;
  • the number of clinics providing obstetric services and the ratio of doctors and midwives to the Rohingya population; and
  • the number of Rohingya families displaced by the violence, disaggregated by sex, and measures taken by the Government to ensure their voluntary and safe return, economic reintegration and compensation for loss of land or property.

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