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Burma’s NHRC: An Empty Gesture (updated version)

By Burma Partnership  •  January 10, 2012

The international community should call on the regime to take the necessary steps to make Burma NHRC a truly independent and effective mechanism

On 5 September, Burma’s regime announced that it had established a National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) charged with promoting and safeguarding the fundamental rights of citizens in accordance with the 2008 Constitution.

Looking at the work and information gathered about the NHRC in the last 4 months, this paper looks at the reasons why the establishment of Burma’s NHRC should be welcomed with scepticism.

We know very little about Burma’s new NHRC. No official information about the procedure, mandate, and responsibilities of the commission has been made accessible to the public and, in particular, victims of human rights violations.The entire process of establishing the NHRC has been everything but transparent, lending support to the argument that this is nothing more than an empty gesture designed to placate the international community at a time when the regime is seeking to have sanctions lifted.

Moreover, the little we do know about the NHRC is sufficient enough to have strong doubts about the commission’s independence and autonomy. The initial information known about the commission demonstrates that there are clear violations of the Paris Principles, which set the minimum conditions that must be met for a NHRC to be considered credible by its peer institutions and within the UN system.

We, therefore, call on the international community to continuously raise, with the regime and Burma’s NHRC, the issues of concern addressed in this briefer until it has proven to be functional and independent, and it complies with the Paris Principles.

Download the updated briefer in English and Burmese.
Now updated with information on the leading members of the commission.

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This post is in: Crimes Against Humanity, Human Rights, NHRC Monitor, Spotlight

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