For Immediate Release: 17 November
BURMA NEEDS PRIORITY
ATTENTION FROM ASEAN, SAYS UN OFFICIAL
Bangkok, Saturday ¬ Burma’s
human rights situation is still urgent and deserves priority
attention from leaders attending the ASEAN Summit in Singapore,
said UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights
in Burma, Professor Paulo Sergio Pinheiro here today.
individually and as members of the United Nations, have an important
role in working for the improvement of human rights in Myanmar.
I have said this on numerous occasions in my meetings and discussions
with representatives of ASEAN and ASEAN members.
“Therefore, it is my
sincere hope that the critical situation in Myanmar receives
serious consideration at the ASEAN Summit,” said Prof.
Pinheiro. He made the statement on the record during a meeting
with human rights groups in Bangkok this morning, shortly after
completing a five-day visit to Burma.
While Prof. Pinheiro said that
the details of his findings would be presented in an official
report to the UN Human Rights Council, he confirmed that he
found no improvements in the human rights situation and reiterated
concerns over the harsh detention conditions faced by political
Regional human rights activists
welcomed Prof. Pinheiro’s statement and urged leaders
at the ASEAN Summit not to backslide on pressure for the Burmese
military regime to engage in genuine reforms.
“Professor Pinheiro was
allowed to visit Burma after being barred by the military regime
for four years. We believe that his visit was a consequence
of increased international pressure, so pressure must be sustained
to ensure that it brings genuine, positive results,” emphasized
Debbie Stothard, coordinator of the Alternative ASEAN Network
on Burma (Altsean-Burma).
“The human rights violations
in Burma have affected human security in this region, therefore
ASEAN leaders have a responsibility to ensure that the military
regime ceases its violations,” said Ms Stothard.
The agenda of the 13th ASEAN
Summit, which begins in Singapore tomorrow, is likely to be
overshadowed by the severe economic and political deterioration
in Burma that saw fuel prices rise by up to 500%, nationwide
protests, and street killings of Buddhist monks. Meanwhile the
military offensive in Eastern Burma against ethnic Karen communities
has intensified, displacing 76,000 civilians, with 25,000 facing
imminent starvation this year.
Enquiries: Debbie Stothard,
Cellphone +6681 686 1652