UN Passes Resolutions on Burma Human Rights

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FRIDAY, 20 NOVEMBER 2009

The Irrawaddy – Expressing deep concern over the human rights situations in Burma and North Korea, a special committee of the United Nations General Assembly on Thursday adopted two tough resolutions against the abusive human rights records in the two countries.

The 192-nation General Assembly’s Third Committee, which focuses on social, humanitarian and cultural issues, approved a non-binding resolution on Burma by 92 to 26 with 65 abstentions. A similar resolution on North Korea passed by 97 to 19 with 65 abstentions.

The resolution on Burma highlights the international community’s deep concern with the human rights situation. It stated that the assembly “strongly condemns the ongoing systematic violations of human rights and fundamental freedoms of the people of Myanmar [Burma].”

The committee also called for the release of pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi and some 2,100 other political prisoners to ensure the 2010 election is “free, fair, transparent and inclusive.”

Noting the recent release of more than 100 prisoners of conscience, the UN strongly called on the Burmese regime to reveal the whereabouts of persons who are detained or have been subjected to enforced disappearance, and to desist from further politically motivated arrests.

However, Tate Naing, the secretary of the Thailand-based Assistance Association for Political Prisoners (AAPP-Burma), said, “Within three months, the number of arrests by the Burmese regime is higher than the amount of their releases.”

Aung Myo Min, the director of Human Rights Education Institute of Burma in Thailand, said, “The UN must take more action against Burma, not only in resolutions but in practice.” He added that the UN should also highlight the human rights abuses in ethnic areas of Burma.

Burma’s Envoy to the UN Than Swe, however, rejected the resolution, saying it is “glaringly deficient and patently subjective,” and little more than “another means to maintain pressure on Myanmar in tandem with sanctions.”

Lalit K. Jha also contributed to this article from Washington.

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