1. Context and Establishment
The Myanmar National Human Rights Commission (MNHRC) was established in 2011 by Presidential Decree and feted as a showpiece of the government’s reformist credentials. There was significant hype and promise surrounding the establishment of the MNHRC in 2011, as it signaled the possibility of genuine political reforms while the country embarked on nascent political and economic reforms.
It must however also be noted that efforts to establish the MNHRC by the government were largely prompted to deflect calls for an International Commission of Inquiry into suspected crimes against humanity and war crimes in Burma, made in 2010 by the international community as well as the former UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Myanmar, Mr. Tomas Ojea Quintana.
While such political dynamics and maneuvers demonstrate the need for caution against overoptimism, civil society organizations were still willing to demonstrate patience and give the MNHRC a chance to prove itself.
However, the MNHRC as it is today suffers from severe legitimacy and public confidence deficits as it falls substantially short of the minimum international standards mandated in the Paris Principles and ICC-SCA’s General Observations for an NHRI to be considered credible, legitimate, relevant and effective.
Indeed, the MNHRC is arguably in a stage of “crisis” barely four years since its inception, with allegations that it has become an “alibi” institution to legitimize the State.
As such, The Asian NGO Network on NHRIs (ANNI) and Burma Partnership strongly urge the ICC Bureau and the ICC-SCA to exercise the powers vested under Article 13 of the ICC Statute1 to decline the accreditation application by the MNHRC until it has addressed the concerns highlighted below and proves itself as a discerning and vital actor in the national human rights governance and protection system.
Download the full Submission here.Tags: ASEAN, Burma Partnership, Human Rights, MNHRC, The Asian NGO Network on National Human Rights Institutions
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