International right orgs call for UNGA resolution
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