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

 

Myanmar: UN Demands New Fair Trials For Prisoners

Myanmar: UN rights experts demand new fair trials for jailed political prisoners

18 November 2008 – Five independent United Nations experts on human rights today demanded that authorities in Myanmar hold fair and open re-trials for dozens of prisoners of conscience sentenced to lengthy prison terms and immediately release their jailed defence counsels.

Last week a dozen detainees, including several women, arrested last year in connection with peaceful demonstrations, were each jailed for 65 years and more than 20 others, including five monks, were recently sentenced to up to 24 years. Many others still await sentencing.

“The closed-door hearings are being held inside prisons by courts which lack independence and impartiality,” the five experts said in a joint statement, noting that three defence lawyers had been sentenced to several months of imprisonment for contempt of court after they transmitted their clients’ complaints of unfair trials. Since early November several other defence lawyers have been barred from representing their clients.

“The UN experts strongly urge the Myanmar authorities to cease harassing and arresting individuals for peacefully exercising their internationally recognized human rights,” the statement added. “They further demand that all detainees be retried in open hearings respecting fair trial standards and the immediate release of their defence counsels.”

The statement followed a call last week by Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon for the release of all political prisoners in Myanmar.

Reiterating previous calls to initiate reforms for a transition to a multiparty democratic and civil government, as envisaged by the new Constitution, the experts strongly urged the authorities to immediately commence work on ensuring the indispensable pre-conditions for free and fair general elections to be held in 2010.

These include a comprehensive review of national legislation to ensure its compliance with international human rights standards, the release of political prisoners of conscience, and reform of the armed forces and the judicial system.

The five experts are: Special Rapporteur for human rights in Myanmar Tomas Ojea Quintana; Special Rapporteur for the independence of judges and lawyers Leandro Despouy; Special Rapporteur for freedom of opinion and expression Frank La Rue; Special Rapporteur for human rights defenders Margaret Sekaggya; and Special Rapporteur for freedom of religion or belief Asma Jahangir.

The special rapporteurs, who serve in an independent unpaid capacity, report to the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva.

ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
World Headlines

 

ITUC: Nobel Prize In Economics Explodes Minimum Wage And Jobs Myth

The prize was awarded to David Card, Joshua Angrist and Guido Imbens for real-world research in the 1990s that demonstrated, empirically, that the idea touted by conservative economists that higher minimum wages mean fewer jobs is not based on fact... More>>

Science Media Centre: New South Wales Opens Up For Fully-vaccinated – Aus SMC Expert Reaction
Sydney has partially eased Covid-19 restrictions for fully-vaccinated individuals after NSW reached its target of 70 per cent of the population double-dosed. The Australian Science Media Centre has asked experts about the possible risks of the country opening up again...More>>


Nobel Peace Prize: Journalists Who ‘Speak Truth To Power’ Recognized

Two campaigning journalists were awarded the prestigious Nobel Peace Prize on Friday, which UN Secretary-General António Guterres said was recognition that a free press is “essential for peace, justice, sustainable development and human rights – and the cornerstone for building fair and impartial institutions”...
More>>


Focus On: UN SDGs


UN: With Clock Ticking, Sustainable Transport Key To Global Goals
From electric cars and buses to zero-carbon producing energy sources, new and emerging technologies along with innovative policy changes, are critical for combating climate change. But to be effective, they must ensure that transport strategies benefit everyone, including the poorest... More>>


COP26: 7 Climate Action Highlights To Remember

A September to remember, a pivotal month for climate action commitments. From the United Nations General Assembly week to the final pre-COP meeting, last month was an important time to build momentum... More>>


UN: Global Leaders Set To Act To Increase Energy Access While Reducing Emissions At First UN Energy Summit In 40 Years

Significant new commitments for financing clean energy, increasing renewables and improving access to electricity are expected to be announced on 24 September at the UN High-level Dialogue on Energy... More>>