Urgent resolution on the human rights situation in Burma

Press release
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38th FIDH Congress
23-24 May 2013
Istanbul (Turkey)

Presented by the Alternative ASEAN Network on Burma (ALTSEAN-Burma)

The International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) meeting at its 38th Congress in Istanbul, Turkey,

Considering that since June 2011 the Tatmadaw (Burma’s military) has conducted military offensives against the Kachin Independence Army in Kachin and Northern Shan States, committing serious human rights violations, including the killing of civilians, arbitrary arrests, torture, rape of women, forced relocation, and the use of civilians as human shields;
Considering that Burma’s military continues to commit other serious human rights violations across the country, including forced labor; the recruitment and use of child soldiers; land confiscation; destruction of property; and arbitrary taxation and extortion;
Considering that during two waves of sectarian violence in June and October 2012 in Arakan State Burma’s regime failed to protect both Buddhist Rakhine and Muslim Rohingya communities and authorities committed serious human rights violations, predominantly targeting Rohingya;
Considering that Burma’s regime denies citizenship to Rohingya in Arakan State and that authorities continue to impose severe restrictions on their fundamental freedoms, including freedom of movement, freedom of religion, and freedom to marry;
Considering that unrest in Arakan State and military offensives in Kachin and Northern Shan States have displaced approximately 250,000 people and that the authorities have severely limited the delivery of humanitarian aid to affected communities;
Considering that Buddhist mobs have recently carried out deadly anti-Muslim attacks in Mandalay, Pegu, and Rangoon Divisions and in Kachin State, and that authorities have failed to prevent the violence and to take action against those who instigated and perpetrated the attacks;
Considering that Burma’s Parliament has failed to amend or repeal most of the repressive laws enacted by the military junta and that authorities have used newly-enacted legislation to crack down on activists and human rights defenders;
Considering that at least 180 political prisoners remain behind bars and that authorities have continued to detain and prosecute individuals for exercising their right to peaceful assembly;
Considering that the recent influx of foreign investment and the implementation of associated infrastructure and development projects have already had a negative impact on local communities, including land confiscation, loss of livelihoods, militarization, forced relocation, and environmental degradation;
Calls upon Burma’s President to:
· Order an immediate end to all Tatmadaw military operations in ethnic areas and a progressive troop withdrawal from conflict-affected areas.
· Promote a time-bound, genuine, and inclusive political dialogue with all ethnic armed groups.
· Grant local and international organizations free and unfettered humanitarian access to all IDP camps in Arakan and Kachin States.
· Allow the opening of a UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) office in Burma with a full mandate of human rights protection and promotion throughout the country.
· Establish an independent and impartial commission of inquiry into recent anti-Muslim violence in the country.
· Immediately and unconditionally release all remaining political prisoners.
Calls upon Burma’s Parliament to:
· Prioritize reforms to halt and prevent recurrence of impunity · Promote substantial legislative reform, including a review of the 2008 constitution and the repeal of repressive laws enacted by the military junta.
· Amend the 1982 Citizenship Law as well as newly-enacted laws, such as the Peaceful Gathering and Demonstration Law, that are not in line with international human rights standards.
Calls upon all national governments to:
· Press Burma’s regime to allow an international independent investigation into serious human rights violations committed by both civil and military authorities in ethnic areas.
· Ensure that companies that do business in Burma adhere to best business practices and respect international principles of corporate social responsibility, including the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights and the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises.

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