The Global Alliance of National Human Rights Institutions (GANHRI) has come under fire for extending an invitation to the Myanmar National Human Rights Commission (MNHRC) to participate in its upcoming Annual Meeting.
In an open letter to GANHRI Chairperson H.E. Maryam Abdullah Al Attiyah, the Working Group on Independent National Human Rights Institution for Burma/Myanmar and the Asian NGO Network on National Human Rights Institutions (ANNI) called on GANHRI to disinvite the MNHRC, which they claim is a “proxy-body of the Myanmar military” and complicit in “barbaric human rights violations and atrocity crimes” against the people of Myanmar since the coup on 1 February 2021.
The letter argues that the MNHRC has consistently failed to protect and promote human rights in line with the Paris Principles, and has shielded the junta from international scrutiny.
The MNHRC has been accused of pursuing regional and international legitimacy for the military junta by joining regional NHRIs meetings and conferences, representing the interests of the illegitimate military junta and delivering the military junta material for its propaganda offensive.
The Myanmar military junta has been accused of committing war crimes and crimes against humanity against civilians, including children, with places of worship, schools, and hospitals being targeted by a military that is committing nationwide terror.
This has triggered a full-scale humanitarian crisis, with conservative estimates of 1.2 million people becoming internally displaced and an estimated 17.6 million people in need of humanitarian assistance in 2023.
Instead of inviting the military-controlled MNHRC, the letter urges GANHRI to support the establishment of a new independent NHRI under the National Unity Government (NUG), which was formed on the basis of the 2020 general elections and enjoys widespread support, representing the will of the people of Myanmar as the only legitimate government of Myanmar.
The Working Group had previously called on GANHRI to revoke the MNHRC’s membership and strip them of their ‘B’ status under Article 27 of the GANHRI Statute for falling well below ‘partial compliance’ with the Paris Principles.
They further argue that GANHRI must not recognize the MNHRC as a functional NHRI given they have grievously breached the Paris Principles, which have been mounting well before the attempted coup.
The letter concludes by calling on GANHRI to retract the invitation and to support the people’s movement in Myanmar and the efforts to build a genuine federal democracy and realize human rights for all.
The Working Group was previously known as ‘CSO Working Group on MNHRC Reform’; currently consists of 20 Myanmar Civil Society Organisations. From its founding in 2019 until the attempted coup in February 2021, the Working Group consistently advocated for an effective MNHRC that demonstrated a commitment to the international standards set forth in the Paris Principles.