Burma Campaign UK today called on the British government to ensure that the EU supports a UN Commission of Inquiry into war crimes and crimes against humanity in Burma.
EU Foreign Ministers meet on April 12th and will renew their common policy on Burma. Foreign ministers will also issue a statement on EU Burma policy, and could publicly announce support for an Inquiry in this statement.
It is now more than a year since the United Nations Special Rapporteur on human rights in Burma called for a UN Commission of Inquiry into possible war crimes and crimes against humanity in Burma. However, despite 12 EU members publicly supporting an Inquiry, the EU as a whole has failed to give its support. Apparently frustrated by this lack of support, in October 2010 the Special Rapporteur stated; “Failing to act on accountability in Myanmar will embolden the perpetrators of international crimes and further postpone long-overdue justice.”
There has been no improvement in the human rights situation in Burma since sham elections last year. In ethnic areas of Burma the Burmese Army continues to attack and kill civilians.
“The failure of the EU to support a UN inquiry into the Burmese dictatorship’s violations of international law is a green light for them to continue the abuses,” said Zoya Phan, Campaigns Manager at Burma Campaign UK. “The people of Burma are wondering why there is strong international action to stop the Libyan dictatorship killing civilians, but the EU hasn’t even supported a mere investigation into the Burmese dictatorship killing civilians. Why are our lives less important?”
The British government was the first EU member to express support for a UN Inquiry into war crimes and crimes against humanity. Burma Campaign UK is calling on the British government to continue its leadership on this issue by persuading the EU as a whole to support an Inquiry. The British government has taken similar action in the past. In 2008 the UK successfully persuaded EU members to support a global arms embargo against Burma.