Oral Statement - Burma

06/06/2008
Press release

Situation of Human Rights in BURMA

Mr Chairman,

The International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) maintains its serious concerns regarding the institutionally entrenched, systematic and widespread violations of human rights occurring in Burma.

ORAL STATEMENT

Situation of Human Rights in BURMA

Mr Chairman,

The International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) maintains its serious concerns regarding the institutionally entrenched, systematic and widespread violations of human rights occurring in Burma.

Since the last session of the Human Rights Council, the military junta not only has not undertaken any action in favour of national reconciliation, but on the contrary has tried to legitimize its grip on power by holding a national "referendum" on a draft constitution.

The referendum was held on 10 May 2008 in a context of humanitarian crisis, following the cyclone "Nargis". The FIDH strongly condemns the way in which the referendum was carried out, in a climate of fear, intimidation and repression – which prevented any free debate about the draft.

Following the cyclone "Nargis", and despite the enormous needs of more than 2 million persons, the military regime blocked foreign aid for more than 2 weeks, in complete disregard of its obligation and responsibility to protect the Burmese population. Such a delay has been endangering the life and health of hundreds of thousands of persons.

This is an additional element in the long-established list of serious human rights violations in which the military authorities have been engaging.

Consequently,

The FIDH strongly urges the Human Rights Council to adopt a resolution

Urging the authorities to cooperate fully with the Human Rights Council’s special procedures and mechanisms, and in particular to invite the Special Rapporteur on Human Rights in Myanmar, Mr. Thomás Ojea Quintana.

Calling the junta to establish and follow-up an inclusive political dialogue in the country.

Condemning the referendum process and rejecting its results, as they constitute a flagrant violation of international standards on free and fair electoral process.

The resolution should also call upon the Special Rapporteur to visit Burma and include in his report an assessment of the human rights violations resulting from the management of humanitarian crisis by the military regime, as well as the violations perpetrated in connection with the referendum.

In addition, the resolution should establish concrete benchmarks for the political process in Burma, and call for the strict respect of international standards, i.a.:

The immediate release of Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and all other political prisoners and prisoners of freedom of expression, as well as human rights activists.

The immediate lift of any kind of restrictions to foreign humanitarian aid, including UN agencies and NGOs.

The resolution should finally call the Security Council to adopt a resolution on Burma calling for immediate concrete steps from the junta on the issues just raised, making reference to the regime’s responsibility to protect.

Thank you very much for your attention.

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