UNGA adopts draft resolution on human rights in Myanmar

    A draft resolution on human rights situation in Myanmar, which has been approved by the United Nations General Assembly, was released on Friday, urging the government to ensure free and fair elections, protect the right to freedom of expression, association, and peaceful assembly, to allow for free and independent movement of journalists and activists, strengthen rule of law, and carry out ceasefire.

    Published on Sunday, 29 March 2015 07:54

    The draft resolution was submitted by Latvia on behalf of the European Union and was adopted by a vote of 20 in favour, 11 against and 16 abstentions.

    The resolution urges the government to continue constitutional reform and to ensure that the constitutional referendum and the elections to be held in 2015 and beyond are credible, inclusive and transparent. Besides, it also calls for the government to ensure free and fair election and allow the international community to monitor the elections.

    The resolution calls upon the government to protect the right to freedom of expression, association and peaceful assembly, to allow for free and independent media and to ensure the freedom of journalists, civil society activists and human rights defenders to pursue their activities, especially during the approach to the upcoming election.

    Regarding the strengthening of the rule of law, the UN welcomes the ongoing efforts aimed at reviewing and reforming legislation, including the Constitution, stresses the need for and relevance of such reforms, recalls the importance of ensuring their compatibility with international standards and democratic principles, and calls upon the Government and political actors to to address the need for an independent, impartial and effective judiciary.

    The United Nations Human Rights Council (UNSC) expresses concern at the increased fighting in ethnic areas and encourages continued efforts towards a durable nationwide ceasefire with ethnic armed groups and towards an all-inclusive political dialogue leading to comprehensive political solutions. It express concern at the declaration of a state of emergency and the imposition of martial law in the Kokang self-administered zone and at the increased fighting in Shan and Kachin States.

    The resolution states that the UNSC welcomes positive developments in Myanmar and the political, economic and democratic reforms of the Myanmar government.

    The UNSC welcomes the release of political prisoners and the end of the recruitment and use of child soldiers and cooperation with the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Myanmar. However, it urges the government to fulfil its commitment to the unconditional release of all remaining political prisoners, including all political activists, journalists, human rights defenders and peaceful protesters recently detained or convicted, and end human rights violations and abuses, including sexual violence, and torture, and to follow the principles on human rights which has been signed by the country.

    The resolution extends the mandate of the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Myanmar for another year and calls for the government to open a country office of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights promptly, recalling the commitment made by the Myanmar government.

    It also calls upon the Myanmar government to ensure full cooperation with the Secretary-General and his Special Adviser on Myanmar.

    In response to the resolution, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced on Friday that “the resolution does not adequately and objectively reflect and apprise of the efforts and achievements in promoting and protecting of human rights of the people of Myanmar. In addition to this drawback, some facts amount to infringing on the sovereignty and interfering in the internal affairs of Myanmar. It includes criticizing and prejudging the holding and the outcome of upcoming general elections, turning a blind eye on the efforts being made for a free, fair and transparent election. It also contains a terminology which is not accepted by the nation and its entire people. It is also learnt that expressions on Myanmar’s cooperation with the United Nations agencies and the international humanitarian community are misleading.”

    Maung Wai, the permanent representative of Myanmar to the United Nations, responded: “We are disappointed that the European Union has once again tabled a draft resolution by selectively targeting Myanmar under the pretext of human rights. There is no one-size-fits-all constitution in the world. Prejudging its outcome is unwarranted on any grounds. Myanmar’s reforms in the past four years have contributed greatly to the people’s better enjoyment of human rights and fundamental citizen rights, especially in the area of freedom of expression, freedom of assembly, and freedom of association.”

    The U.S. Department of State announced on Friday that it welcomes the resolution and urged the government to establish an OHCHR office.

    Since 1992, the UN has been passed on the resolution on human rights situation due to serious human rights violations and the resolutions will be extended each year until the country receives basic human rights.

    SOURCE www.elevenmyanmar.com