As the 2010 UN General Assembly has opened in New York, the French government has publicly stated its support to the set-up of an international commission of inquiry to investigate the numerous allegations of international crimes perpetrated in Burma. During the 15th session of the Human Rights Council, France’s permanent representative stated that: “Human rights are still systematically violated and France expressed its support for the Special Rapporteur’s recommendation to establish an international commission of inquiry and urges the Burmese government to fully cooperate with the latter.”
In March 2010, M. Quintana, UN Special Rapporteur on the human rights situation in Burma/Myanmar, characterized human rights violations committed in the country as being “widespread and systematic” and as being “the result of a State policy”. His recommendation to the UN was to consider establishing the commission of inquiry on crimes against humanity and war crimes. It is the first time in twenty years that a senior UN official makes such a recommendation. His predecessor M. Pinheiro, who partook in the panel of the press conference, declared: “I am very pleased that France has joined this ‘group of honour’ of countries supporting the commission of inquiry”.
Since March, support in favour of this initiative has increased: several countries including the United States, Australia, Canada and European countries such as the Netherlands, Hungary and Czech Republic have declared their support for a UN international commission of inquiry. France is today the ninth country to take a public stand in favour of such a commission. In France, 60 MPs have urged the French government to publicly stand in favour of a commission of inquiry to put an end to the culture of impunity that has been spreading in Burma for decades and prevent the perpetration of new crimes and abuses.
The evidences gathered by different UN agencies and Burmese and international organizations are appalling: the destruction since 1996 of over 3500 villages, the overwhelming number of arbitrary killings, forced disappearances and rapes, the forced displacement of over a million people and the forced recruitment of dozens of thousands of child soldiers.