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Quintana’s Recommendations to the UNHRC Must be Supported

By Burma Partnership  •  March 22, 2010

On 15 March, UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights in Myanmar, Tomas Ojea Quintana, presented his progress report on the country to the 13th session of the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC). In his report, Quintana documented the “gross and systematic violation of human rights” being carried out at the hands of the military regime. Quintana concluded:

“Given the gross and systematic nature of human rights violations in Myanmar over a period of many years, and the lack of accountability, there is an indication that those human rights violations are the result of a State policy that involves authorities in the executive, military and judiciary at all levels. According to consistent reports, the possibility exists that some of these human rights violations may entail categories of crimes against humanity or war crimes under the terms of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court.”

The Special Rapporteur recommended that the UNHRC consider establishing a Commission of Inquiry with a fact-finding mandate to look into the nature of these crimes.

Australia supported Quintana’s recommendation that the UNHRC establish a Commission of Inquiry, while the US said that Quintana’s recommendation was significant and that it would consider it. Non-governmental organizations, Human Rights Watch and Forum-Asia called on the Council to support Quintana’s call for a Commission of Inquiry, and Amnesty International said the report demanded “a principled and resolute response.” See the transcript of the proceedings of the UNHRC session on Burma. While this is a step in the right direction, governments must support the establishment of a Commission of Inquiry as the means to ending systematic violations of human rights in Burma, and bringing the perpetrators of these crimes to justice.

Quintana also highlighted the call of Burma’s movement for democracy and ethnic rights, that these human rights are a fundamental condition for positive progress towards genuine democracy in Burma. As evident in their new election laws, the junta has so far failed to show its intent to release political prisoners, guarantee freedom of expression and association, and allow ethnic communities to fully participate in the elections. “Under these current conditions, elections in [Burma] cannot be considered credible,” said Quintana. These are some of the reasons for which the movement for democracy and ethnic rights has launched the Global Campaign on Burma’s 2010 Military Elections. There is enough evidence that the international community must denounce these elections as not being free or fair, and refuse to recognize the results.

Quintana’s Recommendations to the UNHRC Must be Supported

n 15 March, UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights in Myanmar, Tomas Ojea Quintana, presented his progress report on the country to the 13th session of the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC). In his report, Quintana documented the “gross and systematic violation of human rights” being carried out at the hands of the military regime. Quintana concluded:“Given the gross and systematic nature of human rights violations in Myanmar over a period of many years, and the lack of accountability, there is an indication that those human rights violations are the result of a State policy that involves authorities in the executive, military and judiciary at all levels. According to consistent reports, the possibility exists that some of these human rights violations may entail categories of crimes against humanity or war crimes under the terms of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court.”

The Special Rapporteur recommended that the UNHRC consider establishing a Commission of Inquiry with a fact-finding mandate to look into the nature of these crimes.

Australia supported Quintana’s recommendation that the UNHRC establish a Commission of Inquiry, while the US said that Quintana’s recommendation was significant and that it would consider it. Non-governmental organizations, Human Rights Watch and Forum-Asia called on the Council to support Quintana’s call for a Commission of Inquiry, and Amnesty International said the report demanded “a principled and resolute response.” See the transcript of the proceedings of the UNHRC session on Burma. While this is a step in the right direction, governments must support the establishment of a Commission of Inquiry as the means to ending systematic violations of human rights in Burma, and bringing the perpetrators of these crimes to justice.

Quintana also highlighted the call of Burma’s movement for democracy and ethnic rights, that these human rights are a fundamental condition for positive progress towards genuine democracy in Burma. As evident in their new election laws, the junta has so far failed to show its intent to release political prisoners, guarantee freedom of expression and association, and allow ethnic communities to fully participate in the elections. “Under these current conditions, elections in [Burma] cannot be considered credible,” said Quintana. These are some of the reasons for which the movement for democracy and ethnic rights has launched the Global Campaign on Burma’s 2010 Military Elections. There is enough evidence that the international community must denounce these elections as not being free or fair, and refuse to recognize the results.

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