FIDH Oral Statement on Burma/Myanmar at the 28th Session of the Human Rights Council

Press release

Mr. President, Madam Special Rapporteur,

FIDH welcomes your report, which reminds us that very serious human rights issues remain unad-dressed in Burma/Myanmar. The recent violent crackdown on student demonstrators shows that repression of peaceful dissent and a culture of impunity remain a reality in Burma/Myanmar and that the last year has been marked by a human rights backslide.

Despite President Thein Sein’s promise to free all political prisoners, we regret that Burma/Myanmar continues to hold dozens of them behind bars – and their number is steadily rising. We demand the immediate and unconditional release of all political prisoners.

Madam Lee,

We share your concern over the criminalization of legitimate, peaceful protests against land confiscation. Farmers and land rights defenders continue to be harassed, arbitrarily detained, imprisoned, and, in some cases, killed for challenging land confiscation. In this regard, we urge the government to adequately investigate the murder of land rights defender San Tun and hold the perpetrators accountable.

We are seriously concerned over the detention conditions of over 10,000 inmates serving part of their sentences in labor camps across the country. According to government figures, more than 1,100 died in labor camps between May 2004 and August 2014. This figure represents an average of one death every three days. We call on you to investigate the issue during your next visit to the country. In addition, we urge the government to take urgent measures to improve conditions in labor camps across the country and to allow delegates of the ICRC to conduct regular inspections.

Finally, we are concerned over reports of imposition of death sentences. Since the start of the year, 16 people have been sentenced to death. While no one has been executed in more than two decades, recent developments in the region show that executions can resume anytime unless capital punishment is abolished. We urge the government and law-makers to take concrete steps towards the abolition of the death penalty.

Thank you for your attention.

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