Thank you, Madam Vice-President. 

The Philippines is seriously concerned that the FFM may have exceeded its mandate with the report on the economic interests of Tatmadaw and its recommendations. The report notably asserted repeatedly that it had reasonable grounds to reach its conclusions, when its methodology relied heavily on the use of unverified information from open sources.

At the onset, this delegation takes issue with a point reiterated across the report that the Philippines transferred arms or related items to the Tatmadaw, on the basis of a press release by a Philippine-based company. However, this conclusion is inconsistent with the marginal citation in the same report that says “further investigation is required with respect to the transfer and any prospective sales of small arms or other items from the Philippines.” It is a fallacy to draw certainty to a fact that one also acknowledges to need further verification. We note that no outreach to the Philippine government was made by the FFM to verify the information.

We would also like to raise the following:

  1. The report recommended the need to erode the economic base of the Tatmadaw through targeted financial sanctions and economic isolation. However, with the report’s acknowledgement that economic interests of the Tatmadaw are extensively entrenched in domestic businesses and the national economy, any call for isolationist sanctions should be considered against their possible impact on the employment of tens of thousands of individuals and livelihood of communities across Myanmar.

  1. This report may benefit from the expertise of the distinguished Special Rapporteur on unilateral coercive measures, who highlighted in his current report that the increased use of blockades and sanction regimes exacerbate inter-State tensions and lead to more human rights violations. Unilateral sanctions have lost the quality of a diplomatic tool and appear more and more as a preamble for violent confrontation. The UN Charter sets out an obligation on States to refrain from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any State.

We reiterate the importance of continued support for ensuring the safety and security for all communities in Rakhine state, the provision of humanitarian assistance, and the dialogue between Myanmar and Bangladesh to facilitate the repatriation of displaced persons from Rakhine State.

We stress that efforts toward a durable solution will require assisting the efforts of Myanmar in its democratic transition that is being pursued within its own legitimate political processes, as well as in its enforcement of accountability mechanisms for human rights violations committed in Rakhine State.

Thank you, Madam Vice-President. END.