Australian Permanent Mission and Consulate-General
Switzerland, Liechtenstein


Interactive dialogue with the Special Rapporteur on Human Rights in Myanmar

Statement by Australia
14 March 2011

Australia would like to thank the Special Rapporteur for his efforts. His Progress Report reinforces the need for the international community to remain engaged in seeking to improve the human rights situation in Myanmar.

Australia welcomes in particular the Special Rapporteur’s focus on the right to education in Myanmar. We urge the Myanmar authorities to take the practical steps recommended by the Special Rapporteur to ensure its people have the right to education on a non-discriminatory basis that reflects cultural identity, language and values.

Australia has made clear its view that Myanmar’s November 2010 elections fell well short of democratic norms. Like the Special Rapporteur, we will be watching very closely what emerges from Myanmar’s political process.

Australia urges Myanmar’s new government and parliaments to make genuine progress towards democracy, to advance national reconciliation and to engage in genuine dialogue with all stakeholders, including those ethnic and democratic parties that contested the elections and those that did not.

Like the Special Rapporteur, Australia welcomed the unconditional release of Aung San Suu Kyi in November 2010. We continue to call on the Myanmar authorities to safeguard Aung San Suu Kyi’s personal security and to release immediately the more than 2100 political prisoners still remaining.

Australia welcomes the Special Rapporteur’s ongoing focus on justice and accountability issues in Myanmar. As he states, it is foremost the responsibility of Myanmar to address these issues and end impunity. These should be high priorities for Myanmar’s new government and parliaments.

The Special Rapporteur notes that recommendations made by the international community on ways to improve the human rights situation in Myanmar remain largely outstanding. We reiterate our hope that Myanmar will look at all of the Special Rapporteur’s recommendations and take credible steps to address them.