Myanmar’s developments and the UN High Representative’s point of view on human rights

After the coup at the beginning of February, the political instability in Myanmar hasn’t found balance yet. Concretely speaking, things are going worse because the first peaceful protests (at least during the civilians’ manifestations) are progressively giving space to the armies, made up of civilians in order to overcome the roughness of the force. Related to this aspect, there are worries as protests may bring about a real civil war.

In the country, which had a not so easy situation from the humanitarian and economic point of view even before the coup, the scenario is currently falling due to the chaos and, according to a general belief, this uncertainty may have an impact on the entire area of the South-East Asia.

Michelle Bachelet, the current High representative of the United Nations for human rights, had a speech on the topic on the 6th July, on the occasion of the 47th session of the Human Rights Council (HRC), stressing that the situation in Myanmar has a negative impact on people’s human rights of the entire area.

One of the first and strongly negative data concerns the number of civilians casualties, caused by the brutality of the police and of the Burmese army, which gets over 900 unites, in the previous months.

Moreover, the army’s raids in the villages and in the settlements forced 200.000 people to leave their homes.

In a wider context, the backward steps in the Myanmar’s democratization process empowered the conflicts with the ethnic communities on the border, like Shan and Kachin.

These communities have always showed autonomous positions, to which the central State has often replied with the army’s intervention. The High representative, to sustain these rebuilding, underlined how these bordered areas used to be the core of bombs and deportations following the coup, after an easing of the conflicts in the last years.

In addition to the casualties caused by the roughness of the army, it is useful to remember how the food crisis, already significant in some areas of Myanmar, has become worse owing to the pandemic and the coup. Moreover, the politics on the freedom of expression of the Burmese State have caused more restrictions after the coup, thus bringing about imprisonments, detentions and disappearing of journalists.

This defined situation has to be added to the genocide’s prosecutions, damaging the image of the Rohingya community. Related to the facts connected to these episodes, Myanmar is currently being involved in a process in front of the International Court of Justice and it has been forced to preserve the situation up to the process’ end. The coup in February may make suppose that an improvement could not have taken place, also taking into account that, within the relations presented by the Mission with the role of ensuring the UN’s facts, it may have been Min Aung Hlaing, the current Head of the Burmese State, the main player of these actions.

In the comment on the entire context, the High representative Michelle Bachelet expressed fear: “I am afraid that this violence escalation could bring hard effects for the civilians. Every part that makes use of weapons has to respect human rights, and be sure that civilians and civil structures, such as hospitals and schools, are protected”.

Afterwards, she invited the international community to control and speak out: “It’s a role of the international community to show itself as unified in putting pressure on the army, so that it stop its assaults on the Myanmar population and bring the nation back to democracy, by mirroring the clear willingness of population”. In order to achieve this objective, however, there is a need to stop every flow of weapons within the Country.

Lastly, the High representative stressed the importance of condemning the people involved, also in chaotic contexts like the Burmese one: “the continuous unaccountability is a threat to every possibility of democracy, reconciliation, sustainable development or progress towards stability and peace. A whatsoever democratic government in Myanmar will be supposed to have the power to effectively control the army.” This last consideration shows hope towards a change of direction of the political shape in Myanmar, in which the army has always had a control on the civil government, once a possibility to create one was given. Waiting for the acknowledgment of the political future of the Country, the overall hope is that to avoid to involve the civilians in the armed conflicts.

For the full text of the declaration by the High representative, let’s have a look at:

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  • L'Autore

    Alessandro Micalef

    Laureato in Giurisprudenza all'Università degli Studi di Milano.

    Ha una propensione per lo studio delle materie umanistiche sin dagli anni del liceo, soprattutto quelle storiche.

    Durante i suoi studi universitari sviluppa un interesse per il Diritto Internazionale ed Europeo, più in particolare per i Diritti dell’Uomo in entrambi i contesti.

    Oggetto della sua tesi di laurea è stato il caso che coinvolge Gambia e Myanmar davanti alla Corte Internazionale di Giustizia, in cui il Myanmar viene accusato di genocidio ai danni della minoranza etnica Rohingya.

    All’interno di Mondo Internazionale è autore per l’area tematica di Organizzazioni Internazionali.

    Law Graduate from Università degli Studi di Milano.

    He has a propensity for humanistic subjects since high school, especially for historical ones.

    During his academic studies, he develops an interest for International Law and European Law, in particular Human Rights in both contexts.

    His final dissertation was related to the case concerning The Gambia and Myanmar in front of the International Court of Justice, where Myanmar is accused of genocide perpetrated against Rohingya ethnic minority.

    Within Mondo Internazionale he is author in the context of International Organizations.


From the World Eastern Asia Sections Human Rights International Organizations


Organizzazioni internazionali Myanmar Nazioni Unite ONU UN OHCHR

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