PH on UN vote: Rohingya issue needs long-considered approach

MANILA -- The Rohingya crisis needs a long-considered approach rather than "harsh short-term actions" imposed on the country concerned, the Philippine Mission to the United Nations (UN) in Geneva said as it voted against a UN resolution on the human rights situation of Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar.

"We find it alarming that the cost of maintaining these mandates from 2018 to 2020 (including that of the UN Independent Investigative Mechanism for Myanmar) amount to a staggering USD35 million, all of it spent on (UN) staff and consultant salaries and travel-- none on concrete programs on the ground," Philippine Deputy Permanent Representative to the UN Maria Teresa Almojuela said in reading the country's position at the 42nd Session of the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) on Sept. 26.

Almojuela said the Council should direct its discussions and pursue actions towards constructive and comprehensive cooperation with Myanmar, including to support the government in building and strengthening domestic accountability mechanisms.

This echoes concerns raised in the Council about the effectiveness of country-specific resolutions in bringing about transformative impact on the ground despite the huge costs, at a time when the UN system including the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights is operating under severe budget constraints. A recent report from the UN Special Rapporteur on unilateral coercive measures highlighted that unilateral measures which includes country resolutions and sanction regimes often exacerbate inter-State tensions and lead to more human rights violations on the ground.

"The Philippines underlines the importance of continued support for ensuring the safety and for all communities in Rakhine state, the provision of humanitarian assistance to displaced Rohingyas and other minorities, and the dialogue and coordination between

Myanmar and Bangladesh to facilitate the repatriation of displaced persons from Rakhine State," she added.

"We see the need for a comprehensive and durable solution to address the root causes of the conflict and to create a conducive environment that promotes harmony and reconciliation among the various communities, as well as to ensure sustainable and equitable development in Rakhine State and other parts of Myanmar," she added.

Reiterating Manila's call for "durable solutions" that would take root in the context of the democratic transition that is being pursued by Myanmar within its legitimate political processes, Almojuela said the Philippines voted against the resolution.

Adopted by the UNHRC during its 42nd regular session, the resolution on the Rohingya issue urges Myanmar to sustain the democratic transition, by bringing all national institutions, including the military, under a democratically elected civilian government.

It also welcomes the entry of the UN Independent Investigative Mechanism for Myanmar, established by Human Rights Council 39/2, to collect evidence of the most serious international crimes to facilitate independent proceedings in an international court or tribunal.

In another statement at UNHRC's 42nd Session, the Philippines reiterated the need not to undermine and prejudge the ongoing work of the Independent Commission of Enquiry which was established by Myanmar in July 2018 as a step toward ensuring accountability for human rights violations. (PNA)

Source: Philippines News Agency

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