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Asian Governments Must Work on Action-Oriented Resolution for Burma

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On 30 September 2007, FORUM-ASIA and four organisations released an urgent appeal to all Asian governments. The appeal welcomes the decision of the UN Human Rights Council to convene a special session on the situation of human rights in Burma, but calls for an action-oriented resolution.

To : All Asian governments

Sub.: Urgent Appeal to Asian Governments for Action at UN Human Rights Council (HRC) Special Session on Burma/Myanmar (2-3 Oct. 2007, Geneva)

30 September 2007

Your Excellency,

We are writing to you on behalf of the undersigned human rights organisations. We have followed recent developments in Burma/Myanmar with horror. You will of course be well aware of the brutal manner in which the State Peace and Development Council (SPDC) has responded to demonstrators who have been doing no more than peacefully exercising their internationally recognised human rights. We pay tribute to the courage and determination of the peoples of Burma, and stand alongside them as they struggle for democracy and human rights.

We therefore warmly welcome the decision of the Human Rights Council to convene a Special Session on the situation of human rights in Myanmar on 2 and 3 October in Geneva. If the Council is truly to establish itself as a credible and positive force for the protection of human rights, it is essential that it is able to respond in a decisive manner to gross and systematic human rights violations of this nature.

We also welcome the visit of UN Special Envoy, Dr. Ibrahim Agboola Gambari, to Burma/Myanmar, and hope that his visit will bring immediate and practical solutions to the human rights violations currently taking place inside Burma/Myanmar. However, we believe that his mandate would be complemented by a fact-finding mission by the UN Special Procedures.

We strongly urge Asian states, and in particular the ten Asian members of the Human Rights Council – Bangladesh, China, India, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Pakistan, the Philippines, South Korea, Sri Lanka – to make use of this unprecedented opportunity for unified international action on Burma/Myanmar.

We have noted that the call for a special session has been co-sponsored by South Korea and Japan, but deeply regret the fact that no other Asian government has yet decided to lend its support to the initiative. Asian involvement is essential if the Council is to speak out against the ongoing violations in Burma/Myanmar with an authoritative voice. The Association of Southeast Asian States (ASEAN), of which Burma/Myanmar is a member, has a special responsibility in this regard.

The special session must lead to the adoption of an action-orientated resolution. This resolution must provide, at the very least, for the following:

A. A fact-finding mission, mandated to thoroughly investigate recent gross human rights violations committed by the SPDC in response to peaceful demonstrations.

  • The mission should be led by the Special Rapporteur on the human rights situation in Myanmar and could also include international experts and/or relevant thematic mandate holders such as those dealing with human rights defenders, freedom of expression, arbitrary detention, torture, disappearance and extrajudicial execution.
  • The mission should report back to the Council, through the Council President, immediately after its return. The Council should preserve the option of convening another special session, depending on the assessment of the fact-finding mission.

B. An independent monitoring team, mandated to assess the broader human rights situation – covering civil, political, economic, social, and cultural rights – in Burma/Myanmar and to monitor the implementation of the recommendations of the fact-finding mission. The monitoring team’s assessment should lead to identification of root causes of gross human rights violations that have taken place in recent weeks.

  • The monitoring team should be coordinated by the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights.
  • The monitoring team should report to the Human Rights Council through the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights. An ongoing UN presence on the ground is essential to prevent further human rights violations.

The time for mere words has passed; decisive action is now needed. The SPDC has once again shown its disregard for the international community, for its Asian neighbours, and for the rights of its peoples. No state can condone such actions. The failure of the international community, and particularly Asian governments, to prevent the massacre following the 1988 people’s uprising must not be repeated. The future of the peoples of Burma depends on timely action by you.

As members of the UN Human Rights Council, you have the responsibility to enable the council to effectively implement its mandate – to prevent human rights violations and to protect the human rights of all peoples. The world is watching.



Yours sincerely,

Dr. Naing Aung
Secretary General
Forum for Democracy in Burma (FDB)

Maung Maung
General Secretary
National Coalition of the Union of Burma (NCUB)

Bo Kyi
Joint Secretary
Assistance Association for Political Prisoners – Burma (AAPP)

Debbie Stothard
Alternative ASEAN Network on Burma (ALTSEAN-Burma)

Anselmo Lee
Executive Director
Asian Forum for Human Rights and Development (FORUM-ASIA)

Contact Details
Anselmo LEE, Executive Director
Bangkok, Thailand
The Asian Forum for Human Rights and Development (FORUM-ASIA)
Tel : +66-81-868-9178 (mobile) / Fax : +66 (0)2 391 8764
[email protected] /