ALTSEAN-BURMA
Alternative Asean Network on Burma
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PRESS RELEASES, OPEN LETTERS, STATEMENTS

Paris - New York, 20 November 2009

UN GENERAL ASSEMBLY RESOLUTION: TIME FOR CONCRETE ACTION

The International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH), the Alternative ASEAN Network on Burma (ALTSEAN-Burma) and Burma Lawyer’s Council (BLC) welcome the adoption by the United Nations General Assembly of the resolution on the situation of human rights in Myanmar/Burma. The resolution “strongly condemns the ongoing systematic violations of human rights and fundamental freedoms” of the people of Burma and calls on the military regime “to take urgent measures to put an end to violations of international human rights and humanitarian law.”
The resolution was adopted by the Third Committee of the United Nations General Assembly, responsible for the promotion and protection of human rights, with a record of 92 member States voting in favor and 26 member States voting against. FIDH notes with concern that ASEAN states, by abstaining or voting against the resolution, once again demonstrated their tolerance of impunity. The UN body expresses its grave concern over the recent trial and sentencing of Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, Nobel Peace Prize Laureate, and the current imprisonment of more that 2,000 political prisoners, as well as the restrictions imposed by the junta to rights of freedom of expression, assembly and association.

Moreover, the resolution “expresses grave concern at the continuing practice of arbitrary detentions, enforced disappearances, rape and other forms of sexual violence, torture and cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment, and strongly calls upon the Government of Myanmar to allow a full, transparent, effective, impartial and independent investigation into all reports of human rights violations, and to bring to justice those responsible in order to end impunity for such crimes”.

FIDH, ALTSEAN-Burma and BLC organized a series of meetings in New York to advocate for the adoption of a resolution addressing the serious allegations of crimes against humanity and war crimes committed by the armed forces of the junta and the crucial issue of impunity.1 The UN General Assembly indeed requested that the Burmese military regime “take urgent measures to put an end to violations of international human rights and humanitarian law, including the targeting of persons belonging to particular ethnic groups, the targeting of civilians by military operations, and rape and other forms of sexual violence, and to end impunity for such acts”.

FIDH, ALTSEAN-Burma and BLC call once again on the international community to address the crucial issues of crimes against humanity and war crimes in the eastern part of the country. An international commission of inquiry is necessary in order to investigate these serious allegations and to contribute toward peace and democracy in Burma by putting an end to persistent and institutionalized impunity. Our Organizations firmly believe that it is the responsibility of the UN Security Council to address the specific instances of these crimes occurring in Burma as part of its responsibility to ensure the protection of civilians, women and children in armed conflicts.