Myanmar: The repression of ethnic minority activists in Myanmar

Report
February 16, 2010

Myanmar: The repression of ethnic minority activists in Myanmar

12 In December 2009, the UN General Assembly "Express[ed] grave concern at the continuing practice of [...] torture and cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment, and strongly call[ed] upon the Government of Myanmar to allow a full, transparent, effective, impartial and independent investigation into all reports of human rights violations, and to bring to justice those responsible in order to end impunity for such crimes" (OP7). It also "Express[ed] its concern about the continuing discrimination, human rights violations, violence, displacement and economic deprivation affecting numerous ethnic minorities [...] (OP 14). UN General Assembly Resolution on Myanmar, 24 December 2009 (A/RES/64/238).

13 In December 2009, the UN General Assembly "Urg[ed] the Government of Myanmar to release all prisoners of conscience, currently estimated at more than 2,000, without delay, without conditions and with full restoration of their political rights" (OP3), and "call[ed] on the Government of Myanmar to take immediate measures to undertake a genuine dialogue with Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, and all other concerned parties and ethnic groups" (OP 4). Ibid.

14 Ratified on 22 July 1997 and 15 July 1991, respectively.

15 Article 2 (i). In August 2009, Thailand, as ASEAN Chair, issued a statement reiterating a July 2009 call "for the immediate release of all those under detention, including Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, with a view to enabling them to participate in the 2010 General Elections". ASEAN Chair's Statement on Myanmar, 11 August 2009, Bangkok.

16 See Article 3 of the UDHR. See also Article 6 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR).

17 See Articles 3 and 9 of the UDHR. See also Article 9 of the ICCPR.

18 Article 5 of the UDHR. See also Articles 4 and 7 of the ICCPR, and Articles 1, 2(2), and 16 of the UN Convention against Torture.

19 See Articles 10 and 11 of the UDHR. See also Article 14 of the ICCPR. This includes the rights to be presumed innocent until proved guilty; to be informed of the nature and cause of the charges; to have adequate time and facilities for the preparation of their defence and to communicate with counsel of their own choosing; to be tried without undue delay; to be tried in their own presence and defend themselves in person or through legal assistance of their choosing; to examine, or have examined, the witnesses against them and obtain the attendance and examination of witnesses on their behalf under the same conditions as witnesses against them; to have the free assistance of an interpreter if they cannot understand or speak the language used in court; and not to be compelled to testify against themselves or to confess guilt.

20 Articles 19(3), and 29 of the UDHR. For example, Article 19(3) of the ICCPR provides that the right to freedom of expression may:

"...be subject to certain restrictions, but these shall only be such as are provided by law and are necessary: