Maldives condemns Burma’s rights record at UNHRC review

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SUNDAY, 30 JANUARY 2011

Haveeru Online – The Maldives Permanent Representative to the UN in Geneva, Iruthisham Adam, while speaking for the country at the UN Human Rights Council’s Universal Periodic Review of Burma (Myanmar), sternly criticised the military-led government’s human rights track record, calling for substantial and transparent reforms.

Some of these proposed changes included ratifying key UN human rights treaties such as the Convention Against Torture, establishing open and constructive dialogue with the Opposition to bring about democratic change, renewing an agreement on prison visits with the International Red Cross and freely cooperating with UN Human Rights Special Rapporteurs.

Addressing several Burmese officials at the Jan 25 council review, Ms. Adam dismissed the South East Asian nation’s recent general elections as being neither free nor fair and predicted that its 7-step Roadmap for Democracy was destined to fail unless it was conducted in an “open, transparent and inclusive manner”.

She did, however, heap praise on the Burmese Junta’s release of prominent human rights activist and Nobel Peace Prize winner, Aung San Suu Kyi, who had spent 15 of the last 21 years under house arrest.

Ms. Adam also expressed her approval and support of Myanmar’s current aspirations to become a strong democracy with solid human rights safeguards.

The Director of Communications for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Irushada Sattar said the Maldives’ strong stance on enforcing human rights and democracy in not just Asia but throughout the world, is a direct result of its seat on the UN Human Rights Council.

Mrs. Sattar said Myanmar’s delegates at the review were due to respond to any comments on Monday at the end of sessions.

As well as Burma, the Maldives has also presided over the Periodic Universal Reviews of St. Kitts and Nevis, Australia, Nauru, Nepal and Rwanda during the past week. It has also played the role of Rapporteur to coordinate the review of St. Lucia.

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