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NGOs urge Burma to release public report on referendum at the UN

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burma_monks.jpgOn behalf of several human rights NGOs in Asia, FORUM-ASIA urge Myanmar (Burma) State, Peace and Development Council  to release a public report on the conduct of the referendum in the context of international human rights standards. 

View the webcast of our representative Ms. Yuyun Wahyuningrum present the statement on behalf of the NGOs at the 8th United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva on 6 June 2008. Search for FORUM-ASIA down the page.

Joint Oral Statement delivered by Ms. Yuyun Wahyuningrum on behalf of

Asian Forum for Human Rights and Development (FORUM-ASIA), Ain O Salish Kendra (ASK)Asia Pacific Forum on Women, Law and Development (APWLD), International NGO Forum on Indonesian Development (INFID), and Philippines Human Rights Information Center (PhilRights)

8th Session of the UN Human Rights Council

Item 4: Follow-up to the special session on the situation of human rights in Myanmar

(Geneva, Friday, 6 June 2008)

Mr. President, we would like to express our utmost appreciation to the Council for its ongoing efforts to address the deteriorating human rights situation in Burma. We also would like to thank the Special Rapporteur for his report (A/HRC/8/12) which focuses on the human rights issues pertinent to the current constitutional process in Burma, developments related to the September 2007 demonstration, and the human rights impacts of tropical cyclone Nargis.

Mr. President, we remain outraged at the blatant violations of human rights perpetrated by the SPDC, and express our utter disappointment with regard to its willful non-compliance and total disregard for the recommendations put forth in the Council’s three resolutions since 2007.

The SPDC has failed to implement the Council’s resolutions (6/33 and 7/36) to immediately release all political prisoners, especially those who participated in the September 2007’s demonstration. We fully support the recommendation of the Special Rapporteur to set up an effective mechanism to trace those who reportedly disappeared during and after the crackdown of September 2007.

Against the Council’s resolution (S-5/1), the SPDC in May 2008 extended the house arrest of Aung Saan Suu Kyi for another year, exceeding the limit of five years provided by its own domestic law. The move to extend Aung Saan Suu Kyi’s house arrest is closing the door to national reconciliation, and thereby hampering the constitutional process in the country.

As the Special Rapporteur pointed out in his report, a number of allegations regarding the arrest, detention and bringing of charges against individuals who had expressed views against the referendum and the draft Constitution have been reported. Despite the devastation caused by Cyclone Nargis, the SPDC insisted on moving ahead with the constitutional referendum, and we are deeply troubled by the reports of aid being manipulated to coerce voters, the use of phantom ballots, and intimidation by armed forces at polling stations.

Mr. President, it is clear that this referendum was neither free nor fair. In this regard, we would like to echo the recommendation of the Special Rapporteur for the SPDC to release a public report on the conduct of the referendum in the context of international human rights standards.

Thank you, Mr. President.

Asian Forum for Human Rights and Development (FORUM-ASIA)

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