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ASEAN Human Rights Commission Must Address Crimes Against Humanity in Burma

By Task Force on ASEAN and Burma  •  March 25, 2010

The Task Force on ASEAN and Burma (TFAB) calls on the newly formed ASEAN Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights (AICHR) to make systematic human rights violations and crimes against humanity in Burma a priority.

On 15 March, UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights in Myanmar, Tomas Ojea Quintana, told the UN Human Rights Council that human rights violations in Burma “are the result of a State policy, originating from decisions by authorities in the executive, military and judiciary at all levels.” Moreover, he declared that some of the human rights violations “may entail categories of crimes against humanity or war crimes.” Documentation of human rights violations in Burma from many different organizations, including Quintana himself, has been thorough and substantiated.

“We want AICHR to be a credible body. There is strong evidence of crimes against humanity in Burma, such as forced labor, sexual violence as a weapon of war, and massive use of child soldiers. If the new Human Rights Commission ignores such issues, then it undeniably shows the bias and incapacity of the body,” said Aung Myo Min, Coordinator of TFAB.

The Task Force on ASEAN and Burma is a network of civil society actors from Burma working to promote a people-centered ASEAN that is supportive to the cause of democracy, human rights, and peace in Burma. It is calling on ASEAN to support a UN Commission of Inquiry into crimes against humanity and war crimes, as suggested by Quintana, and to make the issue a priority for AICHR. As such, TFAB is also calling on AICHR Commissioners to conduct independent and unrestricted on-site investigations.

“ASEAN and AICHR must step up, and finally give some support to the people of Burma who have had to deal with the harsh repercussions of these crimes without any justice,” said Khin Ohmar, Coordinator of Burma Partnership, a member of TFAB.

AICHR is beginning its first official meetings in Jakarta, from 28 March to 1 April. Commissioners from ASEAN Member States will be discussing the Rules of Procedure (RoP) for the body, as well as priority issues.  Civil society from all over the region will hold several events in Jakarta to highlight the need for AICHR to actually promote and protect human rights. TFAB will join with the SAPA Task Force on ASEAN and Human Rights for a press conference on 28 March at the Ambhara Hotel from 11:00 – 12:30pm.

For more details about the AICHR and TFAB, please download our briefer in both Burmese and English.

For more information, please contact:

Aung Myo Min, Coordinator of the Task Force on ASEAN and Burma: +66 (0)819925293
Khin Ohmar, Coordinator of Burma Partnership: +66 (0)818840772

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This post is in: ASEAN, Press Release

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