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Burma Campaign UK Welcomes Foreign Office Quarterly Human Rights Update

By Burma Campaign UK  •  April 10, 2014

Burma Campaign UK welcomes the new quarterly human rights update on Burma published today by the British Foreign Office. The update summarises human rights developments in Burma for the months of January-March 2014.

Burma Campaign UK has strongly criticised past quarterly updates for giving misleading and false information, and downplaying serious human rights abuses in Burma.

The new update states that there has been “no progress in resolving inter-communal tensions in Rakhine State”; criticises Burmese government reports on a reported massacre as not “credible”, states that the census is “in contravention of international norms and standards”; and highlights more prominently than previous reports issues such as continuing recruitment of child soldiers, remaining political prisoners, repressive laws and negative developments such as the media law and ‘race protection’ bills.

“The new human rights update from the Foreign Office is dramatically different in tone and content from recent updates,” said Mark Farmaner, Director of Burma Campaign UK. “The update directly addresses many of the serious setbacks in human rights that have happened in recent months, rather than trying to gloss over and downplay problems. The tone is more critical and closer to reflecting reality. We are grateful that the Foreign Office has listened to criticism about past reports and has acted positively.”

In March Burma Campaign UK published a Briefing Paper: ‘Downplaying Human Rights Abuses In Burma’, which analysed how in the quarterly update for October-December 2013, the Foreign Office downplayed and ignored serious human rights abuses which continue in the country.

The Foreign Office also published its annual Human Rights and Democracy Report 2013 today, which contained a section on Burma as a country of concern, and a case study report on the Rohingya.  While the general tone remains positive and there are significant omissions, there is an improvement in accepting and referring to serious ongoing human rights abuses in Burma, although the report still falls far short of addressing the many problems highlighted in the most recent report by the UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights in Burma.

“It is good to see the British government being more willing to acknowledge the serious human rights problems in Burma,” said Mark Farmaner. “We hope that the British government will start to take a more realistic and fact-based approach to the political and human rights situation in Burma, and reinstate promoting human rights as its top priority.”

Media Contact:
Mark Farmaner on 07941239640
Twitter: @burmacampaignuk  @MarkFarmaner

The Foreign Office Quarterly Update on Burma is available here

The Foreign Office Annual Human Rights and Democracy Report 2013 section on Burma is available here

The Foreign Office Annual Human Rights and Democracy Report 2013 case study on sexual violence in Burma is available here

The Foreign Office Annual Human Rights and Democracy report 2013 case study on the Rohingya is available here

The Burma Campaign UK briefing paper highlighting how the previous quarterly human rights report downplayed human rights abuses is available here

The United Nations Special Rapporteur Report on the human rights situation in Burma is available here

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