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The UPR Project at BCU: Myanmar

The CHR provides recommendations for Myanmar to ratify the Second Optional Protocol to the ICCPR on the abolition of the death penalty, and formulate national legislation for the removing of the punishment from its national law.

Myanmar large image - UPR project

Researchers

Consultancy background

Our Stakeholder Report for Myanmar’s UPR will build upon the work of Professor Yorke for the moratorium on the death penalty in Myanmar. Professor Jon Yorke was the International Law Advisor to the Workshop on the Moratorium of the Death Penalty, in Nay Pyi Taw on 30-31 October 2017. This workshop was organized by the Myanmar National Human Rights Commission and the Asia Pacific Forum of National Human Rights Institutions (APF).

The workshop was attended by 33 participants including: Parliamentarians, Senior Government Officials from the President’s Office, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Home Affairs (General Administration Department, Myanmar Police Force and Prison Department), Ministry of Defense, Ministry of Education, Union Supreme Court, Union Attorney General’s Office, and representatives from civil society organizations, the media and Members of the Myanmar National Human Rights Commission and its officials.

The Workshop recommended the government to consider initiating a moratorium on the application of death penalty, pending its abolition. Professor Yorke was part of the Drafting Committee which authored the recommendations to the Myanmar government which recommended:

A moratorium on the death penalty to be initiated within domestic law:

  • The identification of effective alternative punishments
  • Prevents misconceptions concerning a possible rise in crime rates
  • Educates the public on the benefits of a more humane criminal justice system
  • Enables the government to chart the next steps towards the domestic abolition of the death penalty
  • A moratorium on the death penalty enables within the international arena:
  • Establishes the legal and political platform for the government to participate effectively in the international arena on the question of the death penalty.
  • Enables the government to contribute further to the moratorium of the death penalty in the Asia Pacific region.
  • Establishes the legal and political platform for the government to accede to the ICCPR.
  • While commending the government for the impending legislative provisions consistent with the CRC, the workshop recommends the prohibition of the death penalty on pregnant women, women with dependent children, for the elderly and for the persons with disabilities.

See, Outcome Statement of Workshop on Consideration of a Moratorium on the Application of Death Penalty, pending its abolition, Myanmar National Human Rights Commission, 1 November 2017,http://www.mnhrc.org.mm/en/2017/11/dead/

Commission Leads Discussion on Death Penalty Moratorium, Asia Pacific Forum of National Human Rights Institutions, 2 November 2017, https://www.asiapacificforum.net/news/commission-leads-discussion-death-penalty-moratorium/

The BCU Stakeholder Report in Myanmar’s UPR has built upon the proceedings in the Workshop as they reflect and engage with the previous UPR cycles’ recommendations for Myanmar to formulate national legislation removing the punishment from its national criminal law, and to ratify the Second Optional Protocol to the ICCPR on the abolition of the death penalty.

This project has also benefitted from the research assistance of BCU LLB students Maria Eduarda Oliveira and Samuel Miah. 

Download the stakeholder report here

On the 12th November 2020, the UN’s Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights cited the Stakeholder Report submitted by UPR Project at BCU: 

[Amnesty International, Advocates for Human Rights, Minneapolis, World Coalition Against the Death Penalty and Anti-Death Penalty Asia Network] noted that the death penalty remained part of the legislative framework and courts continued to impose death sentences. In 2016, Parliament repealed the Emergency Provisions Act that provided for the death penalty. However, it remained in place for other offences, included murder. UPR BCU recommended adopting an official moratorium on the death penalty.” (para. 15). 

There was one paragraph on the death penalty within the Summary of Stakeholders’ submissions on Myanmar. The UPR Project at BCU’s submission is consistent with the recommendations submitted during the review by Member States. 

The Outcome of the Review published on 21 April 2021 in the Report of the Working Group stated that the Member State recommendations on the abolition of the death penalty, ‘will be examined [and Myanmar] will provide responses in due time, but no later than the forty-seventh session of the Human Rights Council.’ 

The Member States recommendations in the Third Cycle to be examined by Myanmar were:

  • Ratify the Second Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, aiming at the abolition of the death penalty, (Recommending states: German (33.7); France (33.8); Slovenia (33.9); Kazakhstan (33.25); Iceland (33.26); New Zealand (33.110). 
  • Abolish the death penalty, (Recommending state: Lithuania (33.99); Luxembourg (33.103); Portugal (33.104); Romania (33.105).
  • Establish a moratorium on the death penalty as a step towards abolition, (Recommending states: Fiji (33.100); Italy (33.101; Latvia (33.102); Sierra Leone (33.106); Chile (33.107); Ukraine (33.108); Australia (33.109).  
  • Provide necessary support for the Myanmar National Human Rights Commission to enable it to fulfil its obligations under the Paris Principles, (Recommending states: Qatar (33.64); Togo (33.65) Republic of Korea 33.66); Norway (33.67); Togo (33.68). 
  • Establish national mechanisms in compliance with the Sustainable Development Goals 16 and 17, (Recommending state: (Paraguay 33.69).      

These Member State recommendations are consistent with the categories of recommendations identified in the UPR Project at BCU’s Stakeholder Report for Myanmar’s UPR.

About The UPR Project at BCU

The Centre for Human Rights has been engaging with the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) since 2016. Under the auspice of the Human Rights Council, the UPR is an intergovernmental process providing a review of the human rights record of all Member States. Through the UPR Project at BCU, the CHR engages with the mechanism through taking part in the UPR Pre-sessions, providing capacity building for UPR stakeholders and National Human Rights Institutions, and the filing of stakeholder reports in selected sessions.

The Pre-sessions are organised by the NGO, UPRinfo, which brings together UN Permanent Missions, national human rights institutions, and civil society organisations to discuss the key human rights issues in the member states to be considered in the UPR. It seeks to identify stakeholder needs within individual member states, in order to help ensure that stakeholder issues and the claimed human rights violations are adequately reported to the Pre-session to help inform the UPR in the Human Rights Council. The UPR Project has engaged in numerous countries’ Pre-sessions, including Sudan and Namibia, having discussions with government delegations and civil society organisations across the world, and impacting upon recommendations made at the UPR.

In September 2019, the UPR Project at BCU submitted its first stakeholder report to the USA’s UPR. Since then, we have submitted reports to the UPRs of multiple countries, including Myanmar, Namibia, Eswatini, Sudan, Thailand, Papua New Guinea, South Sudan, and the Syrian Arab Republic. Our reports are frequently cited by the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights.