In­ter­na­tional right orgs call for UNGA res­o­lu­tion

The Myanmar Times - - Front Page - AN­DREW D KASPAR a.kaspar@mm­

Euro­pean ad­vo­cacy groups yes­ter­day pushed the EU to con­tinue its tra­di­tion of crit­i­cis­ing Myan­mar’s hu­man rights record at the UN Gen­eral Assem­bly, which the bloc has said it won’t do this year.

PRES­SURE is grow­ing on the Euro­pean Union to again ta­ble a UN Gen­eral Assem­bly (UNGA) res­o­lu­tion crit­i­cal of Myan­mar’s hu­man rights record, af­ter the EU sig­nalled last week that the 28-na­tion bloc was drop­ping the mo­tion for the first time in a quar­ter cen­tury.

“Only one of the 17 dif­fer­ent calls for ac­tion to im­prove hu­man rights made in last year’s res­o­lu­tion has been met,” the Euro­pean Burma Net­work, a coali­tion of nine groups across six Euro­pean coun­tries, said in a state­ment yes­ter­day.

The net­work pointed to re­main­ing po­lit­i­cal prison­ers, on­go­ing “rape and other forms of sex­ual vi­o­lence” per­pe­trated by the mil­i­tary and con­tin­ued per­se­cu­tion of Ro­hingya Mus­lims in Rakhine State as among con­cerns enu­mer­ated in last year’s UNGA res­o­lu­tion that have not been ad­dressed.

“A de­ci­sion not to go ahead with the res­o­lu­tion will un­der­mine ef­forts to im­prove hu­man rights in Burma and be in­ter­preted by the mil­i­tary as a li­cence to con­tinue hu­man rights vi­o­la­tions against civil­ians in eth­nic states and their block­ing of con­sti­tu­tional re­form to make Burma more demo­cratic,” the net­work’s state­ment said.

“The Euro­pean Union is putting trade and geo-po­lit­i­cal in­ter­ests ahead of hu­man rights in Burma,” it added.

The EU del­e­ga­tion to Myan­mar told The Myan­mar Times on Septem­ber 16 that the bloc would not be spon­sor­ing a res­o­lu­tion this year, “as a recog­ni­tion of Myan­mar’s progress on demo­cratic tran­si­tion, the rein­vig­o­ra­tion of the peace process and the pos­i­tive steps taken by the new govern­ment to im­prove hu­man rights”.

Since 1991, in the wake of the then-junta’s bru­tal crack­down on a na­tion­wide pro-democ­racy up­ris­ing three years ear­lier and nul­li­fi­ca­tion of Myan­mar’s 1990 elec­tion re­sults, the EU has spon­sored an an­nual res­o­lu­tion call­ing for im­proved hu­man rights con­di­tions in the coun­try.

The Euro­pean Burma Net­work’s pro-res­o­lu­tion state­ment this week came af­ter a coali­tion of six rights groups made a sim­i­lar call ear­lier this month ahead of the an­nual UNGA Reg­u­lar Ses­sion, which con­vened on Septem­ber 13.

The Shan Hu­man Rights Foun­da­tion and the Hu­man Rights Foun­da­tion of Mon­land have also in­di­cated their sup­port for a 2016 res­o­lu­tion.

“Since the new NLD-led govern­ment came to power, we have con­tin­ued to doc­u­ment se­ri­ous hu­man rights vi­o­la­tions by the Burma Army, dur­ing their on­go­ing sys­tem­atic of­fen­sives in north­ern Shan State. Drop­ping the res­o­lu­tion will be giv­ing a green light to these vi­o­la­tions,” the SHRF told The Myan­mar Times yes­ter­day.

State Coun­sel­lor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, who heads a civil­ian Na­tional League for Democ­racy ad­min­is­tra­tion that lacks over­sight of the mil­i­tary, was due to ad­dress a UNGA sum­mit on mi­grants and refugees in New York yes­ter­day.

Last week she se­cured the lift­ing of most re­main­ing US sanc­tions dur­ing a visit with US Pres­i­dent Barack Obama, in a move that was sim­i­larly crit­i­cised by hu­man rights groups as pre­ma­turely ced­ing lever­age for fur­ther re­form.

‘The EU is putting trade and geopo­lit­i­cal in­ter­ests ahead of hu­man rights in Burma.’

Euro­pean Burma Net­work

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