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Germany’s policy towards Burma is subject to international criticism – Federal Government continues to block investigations on war crimes in Burma

By Society for Threatened Peoples  •  August 5, 2011

The Society for Threatened Peoples (STP) accuses the Federal Government of blocking investigations on war crimes and crimes against humanity committed against members of ethnic minorities in Burma. “With its policy towards Burma, Germany has positioned itself on the sideline and is now being internationally criticized,” said the STP’s expert on questions regarding Asia, Ulrich Delius, in Göttingen on Friday. “It is mainly because of Berlin’s non-compliance that the European Union (EU) has not yet managed to unanimously vote for a United Nations investigating committee. Germany once had a leading role in the global efforts to fight impunity – but this kind of policy towards Burma could jeopardize its credibility concerning the commitment to human rights.”

On the 8th of August 2011, human rights activists will demonstrate against Germany’s blockade attitude in front of German embassies in various European capitals. Ten European countries – including France and Britain – are in favor of founding a UN investigating committee to clarify whether war crimes or crimes against humanity are committed against the Shan, Karen, Chin, Kachin and other ethnic minorities in Burma. Also, all leading human rights organizations in the world, UN human rights experts and the US-Government are promoting this initiative.

“Berlin will need to give up resistance – so that when it comes to voting for the prosecution of the people responsible, the EU will be able to speak with with one voice at the UN General Assembly,” said Delius. Due to the fact that China is blocking a decision by the UN Security Council, the General Assembly is the only realistic possibility remaining to set up a commission.

There are regular reports on systematic rape, forced labor, arbitrary arrests, executions, torture, forced relocation and intentional attacks to civilians in the minority-regions of Burma. More than 700.000 people are on the run from this violence.

Despite these massive human rights abuses, Germany wants to ease the EU’s sanctions against Burma and start a political dialogue with the new Burmese government. “But the new government is still dominated by the military,” said Delius. The war in the nationality-regions is escalating and 2.100 political prisoners still weren’t released – although the new government is in office for four months now. “The federal government is trying to engage in a dialogue with a regime that is not open for democratic change.”

Ulrich Delius can be reached under +49 (0) 551 4990627.

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This post is in: Press Release

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