We jointly appeal to the Myanmar government, and more specifically to Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi to stop the genocide and ethnic cleansing of the Rohingya, and the arson of their villages.
We, the undersigned former mandate holders of the UN Special Procedures, although having completed our UN mandates, cannot shirk our responsibilities towards protecting the human rights of the oppressed.
We express our concern that in the space of less than three weeks, almost 400,000 Rohingya refugees have fled Myanmar to Bangladesh, while hundreds have been killed.
Of these civilians, women and children account for the vast majority of those adversely affected by this conflict, including as refugees and internally displaced persons, and are increasingly targeted by combatants and armed elements.
Recognising the consequent impact this has on durable peace and reconciliation, we believe it essential to take into account the particular needs of women and girls in the design of refugee camps and settlements to ensure their safety.
Recalling that Myanmar has been home to many ethnic communities spread across its territories for centuries, we are also deeply concerned that the Rohingya continue to be denied citizenship despite living on their ancestral land.
We join our voices with the UN high commissioner for refugees in underscoring the need to prevent statelessness and to ensure the right of every person to a nationality.
We express, emphatically, that all Rohingya must be allowed to return to their homes voluntarily, in dignity, and with safety guaranteed.
While we appeal to the Myanmar government to put an end to the clear and systematic genocidal campaign against the Rohingya, we also strongly encourage all heads of states and governments to use the current UN General Assembly in New York as an opportunity to encourage their counterparts, particularly Myanmar and Bangladesh, to engage in meaningful and constructive exchanges to halt these crimes against humanity.
Signed by: Param Cumaraswamy, Olivier De Schutter, John Dugard, Richard Falk, Hannu Halinen, Thomas Hammarberg, Christof Heyns, Sigma Huda, Peter Leuprecht, Najat Maalla M’jid, Nowak Manfred, Rashida Manjoo, Farida Shaheed, Gulnara Shahinian, Theo van Boven and Amos Wako.