Friday, May 22, 2009

Commission of Inquiry on Burma proposed

A distinguished panel of international jurists at the Harvard International Human Rights Clinic of Harvard Law School has issued a report calling on the UN to launch a "Commission of Inquiry" into human rights abuses in Burma:
Specifically, the report sought to evaluate the extent to which UN institutions have knowledge of reported abuses occurring in the country that may constitute war crimes and crimes against humanity in the country. The report finds that UN bodies have indeed consistently acknowledged abuses and used legal terms associated with these international crimes, including for example that violations have been widespread, systematic, or part of a state policy. This finding necessitates more concerted UN action. In particular, despite the recognition of the existence of these violations by many UN organs, to date, the Security Council has failed to act to ensure accountability and justice. In light of more than fifteen years of condemnation from UN bodies for human rights abuses in Burma, the Security Council should institute a Commission of Inquiry to investigate grave crimes that have been committed in the country.
A timely motion at the Security Council to initiate such an inquiry would be a most appropriate response to the recent shenanigans surrounding the persecution of Nobel Peace Prize recipient Aung San Suu Kyi. FT has the latest on her trial, from which foreign journalists have now been banned. You can download the Harvard report here (PDF).

Update: US Campaign for Burma is circulating a letter to members of Congress urging Obama to push for an inquiry at the UN Security Council.

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