Statement by Myanmar National Human Rights Commission on the Occasion of the International Human Rights Day 10 December 2017 Statement ( 13/ 2017)

  1. The Myanmar National Human Rights Commission (MNHRC) along with the International Community celebrates this historic occasion of the International Human Rights Day which falls on 10 December 2017.
  2. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) which was adopted on 10 December 1948 by the General Assembly of the United Nations, and will reach its 70th Anniversary on 10 December 2018. In this regard, countries around the world will be celebrating the event whole year round starting from 10 December 2017 to 10 December 2018 to express the meaningful basis of the rights and fundamental freedom on the daily lives of all humankinds which are enshrined in the Declaration. Myanmar National Human Rights Commission has translated and widely disseminated the Universal Declaration of Human Rights not only in the Myanmar Language but also in the ethnic languages such as Kachin, Karen (East Poe), Karen (West Poe), Karen (Sakaw), Mon and Shan Languages to promote human rights. Furthermore, the Commission has widely discussed the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in the awareness talks, workshops and trainings that were conducted by the Commission for the officials and the public at large.
  3. On this auspicious day, Myanmar National Human Rights Commission deemed it fit to reflect on the activities concerning the human rights promotion and protection that has been carried out during the course of the year.
  4. Regarding the promotional activities, in 2017 the Commission visited 15 townships in the States and Regions to conduct human rights talks. Moreover, human rights workshops were carried out for government officials at Lashio District, East Yangon District, Magwe District and Myitkyina District. The Commission was also able to hold four HR workshops for police officials, two human rights workshops for women organizations and a workshop on child rights for education department officials. In addition, lectures on human rights were conducted at the National Defense College, Staff College and Army Combat Training Schools. Furthermore, the Commission gave lectures at the Central Institute of Civil Service (Lower Myanmar) and Central Institute of Civil Service (Upper Myanmar). The Commission also conducted lectures on human rights at the Institute of Development in Administration for officials of the General Administration Department.
  5. Myanmar National Human Rights Commission has been handling complaints as part of its human rights protection activities and as of 1 January 2017 up to the present moment the Commission has received a total of 359 complaints which were scrutinized according to the standard operating procedures. Field visits have been conducted as and when necessary. During 2017 the Commission visited prisons and detention centers in Nyaung-U, Myin Gyan, Sittwe, Buthidaung, Insein, Lashio, Myitkyina, Kyaukphyu, Thandwe, Kalay, Monywa,Keng-tong, Mine-Hsat, Hinthada, Thaton, Hsipaw, Myaungmya, Pathein, Mandalay (Htonbu), Yemethin, Thayet, Toungoo, Naypyitaw, Myeik, Kawthoung and Thayarwaddy to look into the Human Rights situations and submitted its findings and recommendations to the government. Statements were also issued for the general public. A team from the MNHRC visited Buthidaung and Maungdaw townships from 24 to 29 September 2017 to look into the terrorist attacks that occurred in the townships and issued a statement containing the findings and recommendations.
  6. The Commission translated the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights into Myanmar language and distributed it to the Pyithu Hluttaw, the Amyotha Hluttaw and the Union Ministries. In addition, recommendations were made on the Bill amending the Law on The Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances, the Bill on Child Rights and the Bill amending Law on Communication and submitted its recommendations to the Pyidaungsu Hluttaw. The Commission translated the Second Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights aiming at the abolition of the death penalty from English into Myanmar language.
  7. As part of the regional activities, the Commission actively participated in the Human Rights meetings and workshops in the region. The Commission also cooperated with the South East Asia National Human Rights Institutions Forum – SEANF and Asia Pacific Forum of National Human Rights Institutions – APF of which the Commission is member. The Commission is also member of the Global Alliance of National Human Rights Institutions – GANHRI and cooperating with it.
  8. The Myanmar National Human Rights Commission with the aim of finding possible solution to the Rakhine situation held a Seminar entitled “The Affairs of Rakhine, Challenges and Future Prospects” based on independent exchange of views on 11 October 2017. The Chairman and Members of the Commission, experienced persons well versed in the affairs of Rakhine State, representatives of local NGOs and interested persons took part in the discussions and the recommendations were submitted to the President. In addition, the Commission held “The Workshop on the Abolition of the Death Penalty” in November 2017 in Nay Pyi Taw with the support of Asia Pacific Forum (APF). The workshop was attended by Parliamentarians, Senior Government Officials and representatives from Civil Society and Members of the Commission. The workshop recommended to the President to consider the official moratorium on the death penalty since Myanmar has not carried out any execution up to the present moment and which will have positive consequences both externally and internally for Myanmar.
  9. On this auspicious Human Rights Day, Myanmar National Human Rights Commission pledged to carry out the human rights promotion and protection of the citizens in line with the provisions of the Myanmar National Human Rights Commission Law.

Myanmar National Human Rights Commission

10 December 2017