Human Rights Situations in Myanmar: Open Letter to the President of Human Rights Counsel
On 28 September, 2007, Human Rights Now, together with 61 human rights organizations in Asia, submitted an open letter tot the president of the UN Human Rights Council, requesting the president to hold an special session of the Council on the human rights situations in Myanmar.
Open Letter to the President of Human Rights Counsel
28 September 2007
Ambassador Doru-Romulus Costea,
President of Human Rights Council
cc. Members of the Human Rights Council in Asia
The present ongoing political and human rights crisis in Myanmar is of great concern to the international community today. As this situation requires immediate international concerns and actions, we are asking you to convene a special session to examine the deteriorating human rights situation in Myanmar. After the demonstrations by the Myanmar people and Buddhist monks from 19 August 2007 onward, the Myanmar government yesterday (26 September 2007) responded by forcefully dispersing the demonstrators and monks who have been demonstrating peacefully in Rangoon for the ninth consecutive day. As this letter is written, the deteriorating situation includes:
- In Rangoon: At Shwedagon pagoda, the holiest Buddhist place in Rangoon, the Myanmar soldiers today used baton and tear gas against the Buddhist monks and civilian protesters. Some of the demonstrators were reportedly beaten up while hundreds were arrested and taken away in trucks. At least one Buddhist monk was killed
- More than 200 human rights defenders have been arrested, while four persons have reportedly been killed. Large numbers of army and riot police personnel have been deployed around a number of monasteries in Rangoon. In the morning of 27 September, monks were beaten in morning raid at monasteries by the soldiers.
- Mandalay, Central Myanmar; On 26 September, Eight National League for Democracy (NLD) members were arrested in the township across Mandalay division. One famous comedian, Par Par Lay was also arrested. In the afternoon of 26 September, military troops fired shots and used tear gas in an effort to disperse tens of thousands of monks gathering peacefully.
- Kachin State; Early morning of 26 September –At least 90 monks from several monasteries in Moe Nyin Township were arrested by the authorities at 10 p.m. Five NLD members were also arrested.
It has also been reported that Aung San Suu Kyi, the pro-democracy leader who has been under house arrest for 15 years have been sent to high-security Insein Prison for detention, reflecting the Myanmar government’s denial of international community’s calls to release her. The detention of Ms Suu Kyi in this prison is unacceptable and in contravention of theexisiting standards, both domestic in Myanmar and international.
In 1988 at a similar mass demonstration, the government responded brutally firing into the crowd – leading to about 3,000 killed. The 1990 election where the opposition National League for Democracy won the most seats was not upheld, and the military continued its undemocratic rule to the present. Since then there have been tremendous cases of violence against women, human rights abuses, and cases of political dissidents being harassed, tortured, killed, or disappeared. Currently there are more than 3 million refugees and asylum seekers around the world from Myanmar – from the massive massacre in 1990 onward – not to mention 27,000 Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in the Karen State. As a result from the possible crackdown, million will flee Myanmar as refugees making them vulnerable to further human rights abuses.
This special session is, in addition, especially called for, in light of the current serious deterioration of the situation, to examine the persistent non-cooperation of the government Myanmar with the United Nations. The UN Human Rights Council’s Special Rapporteur on the human rights situation in Myanmar, Mr. Paulo SergioPinheiro, appointed by the former Commission on Human Rights, has been denied visits to the country since 2004 – reflecting the setbacks and untruthfulness to bring national reconciliation and genuine democracy to the country.
We, consider that the situation in Myanmar of possible massive human rights violations is in its most critical period. The Resolution 60/251 emphasize on the responsibilities of all states, including the Government of Myanmar, to respect the human rights and fundamental freedom of all (PP 5), therefore we urge the Human Rights Council:
· The Presidency of the United Nations Human Rights Council to issue his concern on the human rights situation in Myanmar due to the urgency of the situation.
·The UN Human Rights Council to take immediate response to the Human Rights Situation in Myanmar in its 6 th Session.
· The UN Human Rights Council to convene a Special Session on the urgent human rights Situation in Myanmar, with the view to prevent further human rights violations in Myanmar and the establishment of an appropriate preventive mechanism with the involvement of the Special Rapporteuron Human Rights Situation in Bruma.
· To urge the Government of Myanmar to implement all the decisions and resolutions by the former Commission on Human Rights regardingMyanmar.
We remain at your disposal for any further information or consultation on this urgent matter.
Thank you very much.
For more information, please contact:
Anselmo Lee, Executive Director, The Asian Forum for Human Rights and Development (FORUM-ASIA), +66 (02) 391 8801, firstname.lastname@example.org, or PokpongLawansiri, Programme Officer on Southeast Asia, at email@example.com, +66 (0) 86 603 8844.
This letter is endorsed by 62 organizations in Asia, South, Southeast and Northeast Asia.
- Activists Society for Change (ACS), Thailand
- ADHIKAR, India
- Ain O Salish Kendra (ASK), Bangladesh
- Aliansi Jurnalis Independen (AJI), Indonesia
- All Rabha Students’ Union, India
- Asia-Pacific People’s Partnership for Bruma (APPPB)
- Asian Legal Resource Center (ALRC)
- Boro Peoples’ Welfare Society, India Cambodian Human Rights and Development Association (ADHOC)
- Cambodia League for the Promotion and Defense of Human Rights (LICADHO)
- Center for Human Rights and Development (CHRD), Mongolia
- Centre for Organisation Research & Education (CORE), India
- Citizens’ Council for Human Rights (CCHR), Philippines
- Commission for the “Disappeared” and Victims of Violence (KONTRAS), Indonesia
- Community Trust Fund (CTF), Sri Lanka
- Education and Research Association for Consumer (ERA Consumer), Malaysia
- Friend’s Association for Rural Reconstruction (FARR), India
- Globe International (GI), Mongolia
- HAK Association, Timor Leste
- Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP), Pakistan
- Human Rights Education Institute of Bruma (HREIB)
- Human Rights Now (Japan)
- Human Rights Working Group (HRWG) Indonesia
- Indian Confederation of Indigenous and Tribal Peoples North East Zone (ICITP-NEZ), India
- Indonesian Human Rights Monitor (IMPARSIAL)
- Indonesian Legal Aid and Human Rights Association (PBHI), Indonesia
- Information Monitor (INFORM), Sri Lanka
- Informal Sector Service Centre (INSEC), Nepal
- International Federation of Indigenous Youths’ Associations
- International Movement Against All Forms of Discrimination (IMADR)
- International NGO Forum on Indonesian Development (INFID)
- Jaintia Students’ Federation, India
- Judicial System Monitoring Programme (JSMP), Timor Leste
- Korean House for International Solidarity (KHIS), South Korea
- Law and Society Trust (LST), Sri Lanka
- Legal Resources for Social Action (LRSA), India
- Mainao Welfare Society, India
- Madaripur Legal Aid Association (MLAA), Bangladesh
- Migrant Forum in Asia
- Paglingkod Batas Pangkapapatiran Foundation (PBPF), Philippines
- Paralegal Training and Services Center (PTSC), Philippines
- People’s Empowerment for Strong Civil Society, Thailand
- People’s Solidarity for Participatory Democracy (PSPD), South Korea
- People’s Watch, India
- Philippines Alliance for Human Rights Advocates (PAHRA), Philippines
- PILIPINA Legal Resources Center (PLRC), Philippines
- Odhikar, Bangladesh
- Rege-Regang, India
- Resource Integration Centre (RIC), Bangladesh
- Sekretariat Anak Merdeka Indonesia (SAMIN), Indonesia
- Self Employed Bodo Women’s Association, India
- Society for Aie Valley and Manash Area Road Communication Development, India
- Students Federation of Thailand (SFT)
- Suara Rakyat Malaysia (SUARAM)
- Taiwan Alliance to End Death Penalty (TAEDP)
- Taiwan Association for Human Rights (TAHR)
- Taiwan Association for Rights Advancement for Ping Pu Plans Aborigine Peoples (TARA-Ping Pu)
- Taiwan Aung San Suu Kyi Network (TASSKN)
- Tanggol-Kalikasan-Public Interest Environmental Law Office, Philippines
- Task Force Detainees of the Philippines (TFDP), Philippines
- Think Centre, Singapore
- Women’s Welfare Society (WWS), Nepal
- Yayasan Lembaga Bantuan Hukum Indonesia (YLBHI)