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UN Special Rapporteur on Myanmar Should Visit the Country Immediately

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On 3 Oct 2007, FORUM-ASIA addressed a letter to the UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Myanmar/Burma asking him to visit the country “with the urgency and diligence that the current situation demands.” The letter also points out that the resolution of the special session on the country lacks of provision for concrete follow-up.

FORUM-ASIA Letter to Prof Pinheiro, UN SR on Burma on outcome of UN HRC Special Session on Burma

3 Oct 2007

Professor Pinheiro
UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Myanmar

Dear Prof. Pinheiro

We at FORUM-ASIA would first like to express our warm thanks for your constructive input into yesterday’s fifth special session of the Human Rights Council on the situation of human rights in Myanmar. We also wish to pay tribute, as we did during our oral statement during the special session, to your untiring efforts to carry out your mandate against odds that must often seem insurmountable.

FORUM-ASIA issued an urgent appeal to the Asian members of the Council prior to the convening of the special session calling upon them to fully participate. We also released a written statement and delivered an oral statement at the session itself calling for a fact-finding mission and for a push for the establishment of an ongoing OHCHR presence on the ground in Burma/Myanmar. We felt that the latter was needed to assess the broader human rights situation in the country, and to ensure follow-up to the recommendations of the fact-finding mission. Our key concern was that the resolution to be adopted at the session would move beyond mere rhetoric, and would lead to an immediate and tangible improvement on the ground.

We regret that the resolution adopted at the special session is weak on the question of follow-up. Nonetheless, we stand willing to lend our support to all efforts to fully implement its terms. Needless to say, your role will be crucial if such implementation is to take place.

In this regard we urge you to do everything in your power to carry out your visit to Burma/Myanmar with the urgency and diligence that the current situation demands. We are aware that this will be a difficult task, but sincerely hope that the SPDC will use this opportunity to engage with the international community and that they will cooperate with your mission as requested.

We feel that it is particularly important that you seek to establish the whereabouts of the thousands that were arrested during the recent crackdown. You rightly stated, when addressing the special session, that the Council was entitled to ask questions about the numbers killed, injured and detained. We are confident that you will do all in your power to get answers to these questions.

You have also rightly acknowledged the importance of action by Burma/Myanmar’s partners in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). We urge you to continue to lean on these states to take a more active role in seeking an improvement in the human rights situation in Myanmar.

We would take this opportunity to offer to you and your team any assistance we can provide in the difficult weeks and months that lie ahead as we all try to translate the words of the resolution that was adopted yesterday into real change for the peoples of Burma/Myanmar.

Yours sincerely,


Anselmo Lee
Executive Director