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

 

Human Rights Abuses In Myanmar Not Being Addressed

UN Expert Says Human Rights Abuses In Myanmar Not Being Addressed

Widespread and systematic human rights violations, grave abuses against ethnic communities, and lack of freedom of assembly and association are still the norm in Myanmar, but the international community has not responded with the appropriate creative diplomacy, and the outlook for change is grim, a United Nations expert said today in New York.

"I don't think isolation will contribute much to move Myanmar ahead," the Special Rapporteur on the Situation of Human Rights in Myanmar, Paulo Sérgio Pinheiro said, expressing extreme frustration with the international community for its use of "megaphone diplomacy," its lack of inter-state cooperation, and its erratic approach in dealing with Myanmar.

Addressing the General Assembly's Social, Humanitarian and Cultural Committee on Thursday, he noted that despite receiving numerous reports on rights violations in Myanmar, neither he nor the Secretary-General's Special Envoy have been invited to visit the country since November 2003, and that he had become frustrated with his task.

Based on the information he was able to cull, he recited a litany of serious human rights abuses and violations in his report, including the lack of freedom of assembly and of the press, the jailing of more than 1,100 people including poets, journalists, monks, students and teachers, the well known case of Nobel Prize Laureate Daw Aung San Suu Kyi's prolonged house detention, and numerous other detentions of opposition politicians for years at a time.

He also said the Government's plan for democracy "has no time frame and no scale" while deploring abuses against ethnic groups, the prevalence of forced labour of men, women, children and elderly, and forced relocations of entire villages.

>From the end of 2002 to October 2004 he estimated that 157,000 people were displaced by armed conflict, and 240 villages destroyed or relocated. Between 700,000 and a million people have fled Myanmar to nearby Thailand, and others have fled to India, Bangladesh, Malaysia and other countries to escape human rights violations, he added.

"[There are] widespread and systematic violations of human rights in Myanmar and the consistent failure of the Government to protect the citizens prevails in the country," he said. Law, order and justice has been "employed as an implement of repression and to silence dissent," he said, instead of upholding the rights of the citizens.

Structural problems persist as well, he said. The economy is spiralling downward, drug tracking is a pressing problem, and HIV/AIDS infections are increasing at a rapid rate.

But the international community's use of sanctions against Myanmar without establishing an effective dialogue is "regrettable," and "wrong" he told the press conference today. The decision of the Global Fund on AIDS, TB and Malaria to leave the country and other sanctions have the effect of depriving support to those who need it, but have had no effect whatsoever on the Government, he added.

Mr. Pinheiro also said that his annual reports on human rights abuses had become a "ritual mantra without any consequences," because he was not given the proper support from the Human Rights Commission. Special Rapporteurs are unpaid experts serving in an independent personal capacity who receive their mandate from that Commission and report back to it.

The new Human Rights Council will need to give more effective support, and the Government States must be held accountable, he said.

Attributing his frankness to the fact that he will be stepping down from his position as Special Rapporteur in April 2006, he said when he began his role four years ago, he approached the job with "cautious optimism," but given his experience today he now feels like a "a frustrated skepticist."

"I believe we must not give up," he said, "but [right now] there is no solution in the case of Myanmar."

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
World Headlines

 




UN: “COVID-19 Is Not Over”, Tedros Warns World Health Assembly

The head of the World Health Organization (WHO) told global health Ministers on Sunday that although reported COVID-19 cases and deaths have declined significantly, it is not time to lower the guard... More>>



UN: Bachelet Calls On Mexico To Step Up Efforts As Tragic Milestone Reached Of More Than 100,000 Disappearances

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet on Tuesday called on the Mexican authorities to step up efforts to ensure truth and justice for victims of disappearances, who now number more than 100,000, according to official data... More>>


ADC: Statement On The Assassination Of Shireen Abu Akleh

Early this morning in Jenin, Occupied Palestine, revered Palestinian voice Shireen Abu Akleh, a Palestinian American journalist for Al Jazeera, was assassinated by Israeli Occupation Forces snipers...
More>>





Access Now: Elon Musk’s Twitter Buyout Must Not Come At The Expense Of Human Rights

Following today’s announcement that Elon Musk will acquire complete ownership of Twitter in a cash sale of around 44 billion USD, pending shareholder approval, Access Now urges Twitter’s Board, employees, and shareholders... More>>



UN: Biodiversity And Ecosystem Protection Highlighted On Mother Earth Day

Marking International Mother Earth Day, UN General Assembly President Abdulla Shahid urged on Friday, for collective action to safeguard biodiversity and protect ecosystems... More>>

Ukraine: Hundreds More Reach Safety After Fleeing Besieged Mariupol
In Ukraine, humanitarians said on Wednesday that hundreds of people have managed to reach safety after fleeing Mariupol, where there’s also been condemnation for the killing of Lithuanian filmmaker Mantas Kvedaravicius... More>>