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Progress report of the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Myanmar

Mr. Tomás Ojea Quintana, UN Special Rapporteur on human rights in Burma

The present report is submitted pursuant to Human Rights Council resolution 10/27 of 27 March 2009 and covers human rights developments in Myanmar since the Special Rapporteur’s second report to the Human Rights Council (A/HRC 10/19) and his report to the General Assembly (A/64/318) in October 2009.

The Special Rapporteur has travelled three times to Myanmar. The Special Rapporteur conducted his third country visit from 15 to 19 February 2010 at the invitation of the Government after several postponements of planned visits by the Government.

The report elaborates on the issues related to the protection of human rights. Despite calls, by the UN Security Council, the UN Secretary-General Ban-Ki Moon, the Human Rights Council, government representatives from many nations, Nobel Laureates and other respected leaders, for the release of Aung San Suu Kyi and the more than 2100 prisoners of conscience, the Government of Myanmar has not yet met this important step in its preparations for transition to democracy, in the lead up to the 2010 election. Likewise, the international community has urged the Government of Myanmar to announce an election date and an electoral framework that adheres to international standards for a free, fair, participatory and transparent election process. For far too many of Myanmar’s people their basic rights to  food, shelter, health and education, which are not only human rights in and of themselves, but are also essential for the exercise of other human rights, are denied. At the same time, conflicts along the border areas continue to abet serious human rights abuses against civilian populations, including the ongoing recruitment of child soldiers. The Special Rapporteur is deeply concerned about the systematic and endemic discrimination faced by the Muslim community in Northern Rakhine State. This discrimination, which is framed as an immigration problem, leads to basic and fundamental human rights being denied to this population. Measures taken against this population include restriction of movement, limitations on permission to marry, and forced labor.

As the Special Rapporteur stated in previous reports, there is a pattern of gross and systematic violation of human rights which has been in place for many years and still continues.  Given the gross and systematic nature of human rights violations in Myanmar over a period of many years, and the lack of accountability, there is an indication that those human rights violations are the result of a state policy that originate from decisions by authorities in the executive, military and judiciary at all levels. The Government of Myanmar needs to take prompt and effective measures to investigate these facts.

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The Burma Center Prague is a non-profit and non-governmental organization based in the Czech Republic. Our goal is to restore peace, justice, democracy and human rights in Burma and to support and empower Burmese refugees.

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