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Leading a Common Approach to the Commission of Inquiry on Burma

By Canadian Friends of Burma  •  January 25, 2011

Canadian Friends of Burma (CFOB) and Canadian civil society organizations would like to encourage the Government of Canada to play an active role in the international call for the implementation of a UN ‘Commission of Inquiry’ into gross human rights violations, specifically ‘crimes against humanity’ and ‘war crimes’ in Burma.  Such an inquiry could investigate reports of human rights and humanitarian law violations in Burma, through the mechanisms of the Human Rights Council, the Security Council, the General Assembly, or the office of the Secretary General.

Just last week, another report was launched documenting human rights violations and calling for a UN inquiry.  Written by the Physicians for Human Rights, “Life under the Junta: Evidence of Crimes Against Humanity in Burma’s Chin State” further indicates that human rights violations in the north-western part of Burma are tantamount to ‘crime against humanity’. Please see the report at http://burma.phrblog.org/report/

All three opposition parties, eighty-two individual MPs and Senators and a number of Canadian civil society organizations including labour unions and Burmese dissident communities in Canada have all voiced their support for the Inquiry.

And the Government of Canada has already indicated support for such an inquiry:

“Canada supports both the UN Special Rapporteur’s work on human rights abuses in Burma, and the idea of a UN Commission of Inquiry into human rights abuses by the Burmese regime,” said the Minister Lawrence Cannon in a videotaped message sent to CFOB on Sept. 3. “We will work with our allies in the international community to develop a common approach to support the recommendations that the Rapporteur will present to an upcoming session of the UN General Assembly,” he added.

Please see a video message of the Foreign Minister at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8wQeCdf0LM0

Canadians are not alone, thirteen other countries have also made a public commitment to the call: Australia, UK, Czech Republic, Slovakia, US, Hungary, New Zealand, Netherlands, French, Ireland, Lithuania, Estonia and Argentina.

CFOB and Canadian civil society organizations would like to see Canada take the opportunity of the 16th regular session of the UN Human Rights Council, to develop this common approach to support the call for a Commission of Inquiry.

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This post is in: Crimes Against Humanity, Press Release

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