Protect Human Rights in Myanmar

Target: Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull

Goal: Prevent downgrade of human rights monitoring and support from the UN for Myanmar.

The Australian government has suggested downgrading human rights monitoring for Myanmar even though reports indicate oppression by the country’s military continues. Australian representatives at the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva proposed downgrading Myanmar from “Item 4” status, meaning serious human rights issues are present, to a “Item 10” status, which means that the state requires only technical assistance such as aid in writing laws.

Human rights groups have accused the Myanmar military of forced labor, torture, ill-treatment and sexual violence against women and religious persecution, allegations which the government denies. Civil society organizations have written to the UN to ask that they continue providing monitoring and leadership regarding the serious human rights concerns in the country. Demand that the Australian government rethink their position and push for the continued monitoring of the human rights situation in Myanmar.


Dear Prime Minister Turnbull,

Your government’s position on the human rights status of Myanmar seems to ignore the reports of serious problems that still plague the country. For example Yanghan Lee, the UN’s special rapporteur, has reported on the religious persecution of Rohingya Muslims. Human rights groups have alleged that forced labor, torture and widespread sexual assault are being used as tactics in fighting between state forces and ethnic armies. According to Human Rights Watch, 100 people remain incarcerated as political prisoners while another 400 face charges for peaceful activism.

Any of these reports on their own would warrant continuing the current level of monitoring and aid provided by the UN Human Rights Council, if not more. Taken together, they mean that any reduction or downgrading of the human rights status in Myanmar would constitute a failure on the part of the UN and Australia. I urge you and your representatives in the UN to rethink your position on Myanmar’s human rights situation.


[Your Name Here]

Photo credit: TUBS

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