The UN Human Rights Special Rapporteur – reports to UN General Assembly
“The important transition and far-reaching reforms in Myanmar must be commended. Yet, possible signs of backtracking should be addressed so as not to undermine the progress achieved … Thus, human rights should be fully mainstreamed into Myanmar’s institutional, legal and policy framework, and a culture of respect of human rights must be engendered among all State institutions and the public at large.”
The Special Rapporteur describes how the reforms under way in Myanmar continue to create the prospect of significant improvements in the human rights situation. He highlights, however, the dangers of glossing over shortcomings in the area of human rights or presuming that these shortcomings will inevitably be addressed through the momentum of current reforms.
The reporting period has again seen dramatic and accelerated changes in Myanmar, which can further improve the country’s human rights situation, but also the persistence of long-standing concerns that continue to pose risks to the reform process.
This is a key moment in Myanmar’s history and there are real opportunities for positive and meaningful developments to improve the human rights situation and deepen the transition to democracy. The new Government has taken a number of steps towards these ends. Yet, many serious human rights issues remain and they need to be addressed.
This focusses on human rights in relation to the (forthcoming) elections in November 2010. It finds the conditions for genuine elections are limited and questions the potential for them to bring meaningful change. It also includes the responses of the Burmese Government to the previous Special Rapporteur's report.
The trial of Aung San Suu Kyi and her sentence of a further period of house arrest, preventing her participation in the 2010 elections, is covered in this report. It concentrates on human rights protection issues and reiterates the Special Rapporteur's recommendation of 4 core human rights elements.
The new Special Rapporteur, Tomás Ojea Quintana, reports on his visit to Myanmar in August 2008 and makes recommendations on the main human rights issues: review of national legislation, progressive release of prisoners of conscience, the armed forces and the judiciary.
In this report the Special Rapporteur deplores the fact that whilst human rights concerns are similar to those in the previous report, he had not been permitted to visit the country. It criticises the lack of effective commitment to respond to the human rights situation. It concludes with 14 specific recommendations to improve the situation.
Corrections to Special Rapporteur's 2006 report
The Special Rapporteur noted that a few days earlier the Security Council had voted to include Burma in its agenda. This report refers to the culture of impunity for human rights abuses and warns of a humanitarian crisis.