The President of the Human Rights Council, Ambassador Joaquín Alexander Maza Martelli (El Salvador), announced today the appointment of Ms. Indira Jaising (India), Ms. Radhika Coomaraswamy (Sri Lanka) and Christopher Dominic Sidoti (Australia) to serve as the three members of the Fact-finding Mission on Myanmar. Ms. Jaising will serve as Chair of the three-person mission.
On 24 March 2017, at its thirty-fourth session, the Council decided to urgently dispatch an independent international fact-finding mission, to be appointed by the President of the Council, to “establish facts and circumstances of the alleged recent human rights violations by military and security forces, and abuses, in Myanmar, in particular in Rakhine State”.
Through Human Rights Council resolution 34/22, the 47-member body mandated the members of the mission to look into, inter alia, allegations of arbitrary detention, torture and inhuman treatment, rape and other forms of sexual violence, extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary killings, enforced disappearances, forced displacement and unlawful destruction of property. The mission members, who will serve in their personal capacities, are also mandated to carry out their work with a view to ensuring full accountability for the perpetrators of these acts and justice for the victims.
The Council also encouraged the Government of Myanmar to fully cooperate with the fact-finding mission by making available the findings of their domestic investigations and by granting full, unrestricted and unmonitored access to all areas and interlocutors. The Council also stressed the need for the mission to be provided with all necessary resources and expertise necessary to carry out its mandate.
The fact-finding mission is scheduled to present an oral update to the Human Rights Council at its thirty-sixth session in September this year and a full report at its thirty-seventh session in March 2018.
The members of the Mission are expected to meet in Geneva in the coming weeks to plan their agenda and work for the months ahead.
Radhika Coomaraswamy (Sri Lanka) is a lawyer by training and a civil society member of the Constitutional Council, formerly the Chairperson of the Sri Lanka Human Rights Commission (2003-2006) and the Director of the International Centre for Ethnic Studies (1984-2006).
She has worked as the UN Special Rapporteur on Violence against Women (1994-2003), and as Under-Secretary-General and Special Representative for Children and Armed Conflict (2006-2012).
In 2014, Ms. Coomaraswamy was appointed by the Un Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon as lead author on the Global Study on the implementation of UNSC Resolution 1325, on Women, Peace and Security. (Colombo Gazette)