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Indonesia: Press For Justice in Burma

By Human Rights Watch  •  October 14, 2010

The Indonesian government should publicly support the establishment of a United Nations Commission of Inquiry for Burma, Human Rights Watch said today in a letter to Minister for Foreign Affairs Dr. R.M. Marty M. Natalegawa.

“Indonesia should show leadership among Asian nations in supporting accountability efforts for serious human rights abuses committed by all parties in Burma,” said Elaine Pearson, deputy Asia director at Human Rights Watch. “Supporting an international Commission of Inquiry is fully in line with Indonesia’s active approach to promoting reform in Burma.”

Human Rights Watch urged Dr. Natalegawa to support the establishment of a UN commission with a mandate to investigate reports of violations of international human rights and humanitarian law in Burma since 2002 and identify perpetrators of such violations.

Dr. Natalegawa has taken a similar position towards efforts to establish an international commission of inquiry into other allegations of serious human rights abuse in the recent past. In June 2010, he called for the UN to investigate allegations that Israeli security forces committed serious violations of international law in using lethal force after boarding ships that were part of an “aid flotilla” to Gaza on May 31, 2010.

“Indonesia needs to match its rhetoric on international accountability for grave crimes with action on Burma,” Pearson said. “Indonesia’s policymakers should step forward to support efforts to ensure accountability for atrocities committed in Burma, just as it has regarding allegations of abuse committed outside Asia.”

Burma’s security forces have committed deliberate attacks on civilians, summary executions, sexual violence, torture, use of child soldiers, attacks on populations’ food supplies, forced displacement of populations, and use of anti-personnel landmines. Ethnic minority armed groups have been responsible for summary executions, used child soldier,  and deployed anti-personnel landmines. These abuses have gone unpunished for decades.

“An international inquiry would be a significant and overdue step toward justice in Burma,” Pearson said.

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