Geneva, 25 August 2020 – On the third anniversary marking the 2017 exodus of Rohingya refugees from Rakhine state, the United Nations Independent Investigative Mechanism for Myanmar expresses its continued concern for all persons displaced from their homes in Myanmar and acknowledges the difficulties they endure living in refugee camps in neighbouring countries or as internally displaced persons inside Myanmar.

The Mechanism’s establishment was catalysed in response to evidence of widespread crimes, including the forced displacement of hundreds of thousands of persons from their homes in Myanmar, that began with events on 25 August 2017. On this solemn anniversary, the Mechanism renews its commitment to bringing justice and accountability for all serious international crimes in Myanmar regardless of the ethnicity or religion of the victims or perpetrators.

“We are aware that for each day that passes without justice or accountability, the suffering continues for those displaced from their homes and for those who lost loved ones or were themselves victimized,” says Nicholas Koumjian, Head of the Myanmar Mechanism.  “Justice for international crimes is a complex and often slow process and we do not want to raise expectations that it will be easily or quickly achieved. We are doing all we can to preserve evidence so that, someday, persons responsible for international crimes will be held to account. We have heard the voices of many victims and survivors expressing how important justice is to them and we are aware that for most, any real justice would include the ability to return to and live safely and peacefully in their homes.”

The Independent Investigative Mechanism for Myanmar was established by the Human Rights Council in resolution 39/2 of 27 September 2018 with the mandate to collect, consolidate, preserve, and analyse evidence of the most serious international crimes and violations of international law. The Human Rights Council resolution directed the Mechanism to use the material collected to prepare files that will facilitate and expedite fair and independent criminal proceedings, in accordance with international law standards, in national, regional or international courts or tribunals that have, or in the future may have, jurisdiction over these crimes.