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Burma: Un-Rule Of Law And Corruption Deny Rights

Un-Rule Of Law And Corruption Deny Rights, U.N. Told

(Hong Kong, June 24, 2010) The un-rule of law and systemic corruption go hand-in-hand to deny human rights in Burma, the Asian Legal Resource Centre has told a peak United Nations body.

The centre on Thursday submitted a five-page document to the U.N. Human Rights Council in accordance with guidelines for review of member states' records under international law. It also submitted a 30-page annexe with summaries of 47 cases to support its major findings, and highlighted sections from the 2008 Constitution and some 19 laws.

According to the ALRC, contrary to the council's expectation that state parties develop the means to uphold international standards, Burma "lacks a normative framework to protect human rights".

The country has no independent and impartial judiciary, the Hong Kong-based regional body says. "Its police force is militarized. Gross human rights abuse is systemic. Avenues for effective redress are lacking," it concludes.

The centre describes the two major obstacles to implementation of human rights as an official perception "that the rule of law is a function of the executive and therefore that the role of the judiciary is to enforce policy rather than law" and systemic corruption.

It also condemns the new constitution of Burma, which will come into effect after a semi-elected parliament sits, as a norm-less document that negates all rights which it purports to guarantee.

According to the ALRC, the U.N. human rights body has failed to grasp the extent to which human rights abuse in Burma has become institutionalised through the criminal justice institutions and for this reason among others it is not equipped to propose or pursue meaningful strategies to change conditions there.

It cautions against the council presuming or pretending that it can do anything significant to improve the situation in Burma without corresponding significant political change, and urges it to work closely with other parts of the U.N. system towards both ends.

The centre notes that its observations are based on almost a decade of detailed study of the situation in Burma, and on expert examination and analysis of hundreds of cases.

Key findings from its submission follow. Both the submission and annexe are available in full on the ALRC website at: http://www.alrc.net/doc/mainfile.php/upr/

The Human Rights Council is scheduled to review Burma in 2011 at its 10th session. The deadline for groups holding consultative status to submit comments under the Universal Periodic Review process for that session is next month.

Download the full submission: ALRC-UPR-10-001-2010 & Annex

ENDS

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