On May 30, the President of the Human Rights Council, Ambassador Joaquín Alexander Maza Martelli (El Salvador), announced the appointment of Indira Jaising and Radhika Coomaraswamy to serve on a three-member high-level fact-finding mission in Myanmar. Jaising was named Chair of the three-person mission.
Jaising served as a Penn Law Bok Visiting international Professor in the fall of 2015, and Coomaraswamy will serve as a Bok Visiting International Professor in 2018.
“Both Jaising and Coomaraswamy have vast experience in advancing pluralism in conflict situations in their countries and internationally,” said Rangita de Silva de Alwis, Penn Law’s Associate Dean of International Affairs.
Coomaraswamy served as Under Secretary General of the United Nations and Special Representative for Children and Armed Conflict, and Jaising was a UN CEDAW Committee member and represented victims of the Gujarati riots in India.
On March 24, at its thirty-fourth session, the Human Rights 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.