The ASEAN Inter-Parliamentary Myanmar Caucus (AIPMC) welcomes the efforts of the UN Special Rapporteur on the Situation of Human Rights in Myanmar, Tomás Ojea Quintana, to ensure that justice and accountability measures are introduced to address human rights violations and build peace in Myanmar. We call on the European Union and ASEAN to support Mr. Quintana’s call.
On 25 August 2011 Mr. Quintana concluded his fourth visit to Myanmar and released a statement expressing serious concern for ongoing human rights abuses in the country, including the continued incarceration and ill-treatment of prisoners of conscience, attacks against civilians in border areas, and a host of violations of economic, social and cultural rights. AIPMC shares these concerns and calls on the international community to take an immediate action to protect civilians and end impunity.
Following a series of meetings with Myanmar’s government officials and political opposition leaders, the Special Rapporteur also described the possible expansion of political space and welcomed the creation of Parliamentary committees to tackle human rights issues in Myanmar. Regardless of whether or not such developments take shape, a mechanism should be set up to investigate possible war crimes and crimes against humanity. Justice and accountability should not be sidestepped by the “potential” for improvements in the political sphere.
AIPMC encourages genuine political reform in Myanmar; such reform should include the release of all prisoners of conscience, inclusive multiparty peace talks with non-state armed groups, and an end to impunity for perpetrators of egregious crimes. We believe such measures are necessary for establishing a foundation for long lasting peace in Myanmar and pursuing justice for victims of human rights abuses.
Since the November 2010 elections, fighting along Myanmar’s borders has escalated. Mr. Quintana has repeatedly called on both sides to halt hostilities and find a political solution to the decade’s long armed conflict. The conflict threatens regional stability as thousands of displaced people seek refuge in neighboring countries. AIPMC urges the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), and its member states, to support an investigation into reports of possible international crimes. An inquiry into reported crimes could accelerate peace-seeking initiatives.
ASEAN is committed to promoting and protecting human rights and fundamental freedoms and should also call on the Government of Myanmar to adhere to its obligations under the ASEAN Charter and international law.
Members of the European Union should also include the call for a Commission of Inquiry or any kind of mechanism to investigate war crimes and crimes against humanity in Myanmar in the draft of UN General Assembly Resolution.
The ASEAN Inter-Parliamentary Myanmar Caucus (AIPMC) is a network formed in an inaugural meeting in Kuala Lumpur, on 26-28 November 2004 by and for Parliamentarians from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) countries. The aim is advocating for human rights and democratic reform in Myanmar/Burma. Its members represent both the ruling and non-ruling political parties of countries such as Malaysia, Indonesia, Singapore, Thailand, Philippines and Cambodia.