World Video | Defence | Foreign Affairs | Natural Events | Trade | NZ in World News | NZ National News Video | NZ Regional News | Search

 


Myanmar: Constitutional Reform

Myanmar: Constitutional Reform, a crucial step in the transition to a more democratic nation


GENEVA (23 May 2014) – The United Nations Special Rapporteur on the human rights situation in Myanmar, Tomás Ojea Quintana, today called on Myanmar to press forward with the on-going process of constitutional reform.

“A country’s Constitution should be a reflection of its people’s collective aspiration, and it should embrace fundamental principles of democracy and human rights,” Mr. Ojea Quintana’s said. “Constitutional reform in Myanmar is a crucial step in the transition to a more democratic nation.”

The independent expert’s call comes as the 31-member Parliamentary committee reviews proposed constitutional amendments to the 2008 Constitution with a view to drafting an amendment bill for submission to Parliament.

“I hope for the amended Myanmar Constitution to be one which respects the fundamental human rights of all people living in Myanmar and not just its citizens, and one which recognizes the will of the majority but also protects the rights of the individual and minorities,” the independent expert said.

For the Special Rapporteur, the current constitutional reform process offers a key opportunity to address serious shortcomings which might become further entrenched and destabilize the reform process.

A healthy Constitution must be amended to strengthen democratic attitudes and values, to facilitate national reconciliation and the peace process, and also address the needs of the Myanmar society, as remarked by the country’s President in January this year.

However, Mr. Ojea Quintana cautioned that Myanmar is only at the beginning of a transition and that the rule of law has yet to take root, and warned that the current Constitution contains a number of provisions which undermine the rule of law and fundamental human rights.

“In order for the rule of law to prevail, the laws of the land must be in line with international human rights standards and they must apply equally to all persons,” he said. “There must be accountability of all State institutions and there must be civilian control and oversight over the military.”

“Leaving the military with an effective veto over constitutional changes, among others, does not augur well with Myanmar’s democratic ambitions especially leading up to the 2015 elections,” the human rights expert stressed. “The right of the people of Myanmar to choose their own Government and President must also be respected and upheld.”

The Special Rapporteur noted that concerns have been raised that the reform process could be upset by peaceful gatherings and rallies calling for certain constitutional amendments to be made. He believes, instead, that “such exercise of the right to freedom of expression and the right to public participation is not only a healthy sign of human rights principles at play, but that it is also a necessity for Myanmar in its transition to a more democratic nation.”

Mr. Ojea Quintana completes his six-year term as the Special Rapporteur on the human rights situation in Myanmar at the end of this month.

ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
World Headlines

 

UNHCR: More Than 300 Die In Boat Tragedies On Mediterranean

The past few days have been the deadliest this year for people making irregular crossings on the Mediterranean from North Africa to Europe More>>

UN: Egyptian Crossing Used To Bring Food Aid To Gaza
United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) successfully crossed from Egypt into the Gaza Strip today, carrying enough food to feed around 150,000 people for five days More>>

ALSO:

Extended Cease Fire: Gaza Celebrates!!!!

Images and video from Gaza.Scoop - Julie Webb Pullman in Gaza. Gazans took to the streets tonight to celebrate their victory in achieving the end of hostilities and the lifting of the illegal seven-year siege. Whatever tomorrow may bring, tonight was a time to rejoice! More>>

ALSO:


Iraq: Killing Of Dozens Of Sunni Worshippers In Eastern Iraq

22 August 2014 – Condemning in the strongest terms the reported attack on a mosque in eastern Iraq, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today called on all Iraqi authorities to ensure that the attack is properly investigated and its perpetrators held to account. More>>

ALSO:

  • UN Watch - UN Urgent Session on Iraq, Demands "Concrete Outcomes"
  • UNICEF: Honours Life, Tireless Work Of Richard Attenborough

    Film producer and director Sir Richard Attenborough was introduced as the new Goodwill Ambassador for the UN Children's Fund (UNICEF) on 28 October 1987. UN Photo/Milton Grant More>>

    UN: Flight Restrictions Hamper Ability To Battle Ebola

    UNICEF and partners visit a crowded market in Conakry, Guinea, to explain to vendors how they can protect themselves and their families from Ebola. Photo: UNICEF Guinea More>>

    Get More From Scoop

     
     
     
     
     
    World
    Search Scoop  
     
     
    Powered by Vodafone
    NZ independent news