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BURMA HUMAN RIGHTS REPORTS ON OCTOB (r)
Subject: Re: BURMA HUMAN RIGHTS REPORTS ON OCTOBER 1995 (COMMITTEE' FINAL REPORT)
/* posted 23 Nov 6:00am 1995 by DRUNOO@xxxxxxxxxxxx in igc:reg.burma */
/* ----------" Human Rights Sub-Committee Recommendations "---------- */
Following are the recommendations of human rights sub-committee to the
government of Australia; reproduced from October 1995 "A REPORT ON HUMAN
RIGHTS AND THE LACK OF PROGRESS TOWARDS DEMOCRACY IN BURMA (MYANMAR)".
The Committee recommends that:
1. the Australian Government urge the Government of Burma to ratify the
major human rights convenants, the International Covenant on Civil and
Political Rights (ICCPR) and the International Covenant on Economic,
Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR).
2. the Australian Government urge the Government of Burma to relinquish
government control over the media and to encourage a free and vigorous
press, in compliance with the recommendations of the UN Special
3. the Australian Government should urge the Government of Burma, in
accordance with its obligations as a member of the UN and using the UN
human rights conventions as a framework, to:
(a) include within its new constitution specific guarantees for the
protection of the rights to freedom of expression, religion,
association, assembly and the press; and
(b) repeal all laws which prohibit free association and particularly the
free participation in the political life of the country (SLORC Orders
2/88, 4/91, the 1950 Emergency Provisions Act, the 1957 UNlawful
Association Act, the 1962 Printers and Publications Act and the 1975
State Protection Law.)
4. the Australian Government urge the Government of Burma to ensure that
all trials are conducted according to internationally accepted standards
of justice - that they are open and accessible, that all defendants have
counsel of their choice, and that sentences are commensurate with the
5. the Australian Government urge the Government of Burma to:
(a) ratify the Convention against Torture and Cruel, INhuman and
(b) eliminate from its prisons all practices involving physical abuse or
(c) institute proceedings against all officials guilty of the abuse of
(d) give training to prison officers, po,ice and military personnel in
the standards expected of such personnel in the human rights instruments
and humanitarian law; and
(e) allow representatives of the INternational Committee of the Red
Cross full, private access to prisoners in Burmese goals.
6. the Australian Government urge the Government of Burma to:
(a) bring the conduct of its military officers into compliance with
accepted standards of behaviour in accordance with the Geneva
Conventions and the international human rights conventions;
(b) take proceeding against members of the military guilty of arbitrary
killing, rape or the beating of civilian porters or villagers; and
(c) control the military to ensure that there is no confiscation of
The Committee recommends that:
7. the Australian Government urge the Government of Burma to:
(a) comply with the standards it has agreed to under the Geneva
Conventions, in respect to the treatment of civilians during armed
conflict, and under ILO Convention 29 in relation to forced labour;
(b) institute the necessary legal changes to the 'Village Act and the
Town Act ' to prevent the continuation of the practice of forced labour
(c) agree to the provisions of expert advice by representatives of the
ILO for the institution of improved laws and systems relating to labour
practice in Burma; and
(d) comply with the requests of the ILO Committee on the Application of
Standards to institute new laws relating to the existence of free trade
unions in Burma - allowing the formation of unions independent of the
government, the right of workers to join unions of their own choice, the
right to strike and the release of union officials currently in prison
for union activity sanctioned under ILO Convention No 87.
8. Australian delegates to the ILO continue to raise these issues and press
the Government of Burma for reform of its labour laws to bring them into
line with the requirements of the ILO.
The Committee recommends that:
9. the Australian Government:
(a) contribute to the United Nations Drug Control Program (UNDCP) in
support of the expansion of crop substitution measures;
(b) examine the feasibility of contributing to the UNDCP program by
offering law enforcement training; and
(c) encourage its dialogue partners in ASEAN to pursue with the
Government of Burma long term solutions to the problems of trafficking
in women and drugs thorugh fully negotiated political settlements in the
border regions in conjunction with the ceasefires.
10.the Australian Government urge the Government of Thailand to:
(a) ratify the international human rights conventions relevant to the
issue of trafficking in women, particularly the ICCPR;
(b) implement the provisions of its existing anti-prostitution
legislation by instituting prosecutions against those who traffic in
women and girls for the purposes of prostitution and any police or army
officers assisting in the trade;
(c) ensure that the victims of trafficking, women, girls and young men,
are protected and rehabilitated and that support for Thailand in this
endeavour should become a focus of the Australian aid program to
11.the Attorney-General's Department, in coordination with other relevant
State and Federal agencies,
(a) review all legislation relating to prostitution in Australia;
(b) consider the need to enact legislation which would target
traffickers in women and children.
12.the Australian Government
(a) consider accession, perhaps with a reservation on Article 6, to the
1949 Convention for the Suppression of the Traffic in Persons and the
Exploitation of the Prostitution of Others;
(b) encourage Australian Embassies to maintain tight visa and passport
processes and procedures with a view to limiting fraud;
(c) offer assistance to regional countries to improve the security of
(d) put in place programs which would recognise Australia's
responsibilities for the protection and rehabilitation of the victims of
(e) consider this as a factor in any application which is made for a
13.the Australian Government urge the Government of Burma to accede to the
UN Chemical Weapons Convention.
14.the Australian Government urge the Government of Thailand to:
(a) ratify the 1951 Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees and
its 1967 Protocol; and
(b) permit the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees to provide
greater assistance to the refugees on the Thai-Burma border.
15.the Australian Government explore ways, within the current humanitarian
program in Burma, to assist in the wider dissemination of information about
16.the Australian Government endorses the call of the UN Rapporteur for the
revision of the 1982 Citizenship Law to eliminate the creation of second
class citizenship, especially for the Rakine Muslim people.
17.Australian diplometic representatives and officers from AusAID make a
specific evaluation of the repatriation and resettlement of the Rohingya
refugees by regular visits to the Arakan State and the UNHCR projects
established to ensure their successful resettlement.
18.in responding to demands for self-determination in Burma, the Australian
Government and its ASEAN dialogue partners include on their agenda for
discussions between Foreign MInisters and between Heads of Government
the importance of protecting minority rights as the most effective way
of ensuring the stability of the state.
The Committee recommends that:
19.the Australian Government continue to press the Government of Burma to:
(a) recognise the popular legitmacy of the NLD and builds on DAw Aung
San Suu Kyi's call for power sharing on a South African model; and
(b) begin negotiations with Aung San Suu Kyi with a view to bringing
about this end.
20.the Australian Government urge the Government of Burma to include a
greater number of the National League for Democracy representatives and a
more representative group of delegates from the ethnic minorities in the
deliberations of the National Convention.
21.the Australian Government urge the Government of Burma to provide
observer status to the international press, diplomatic representatives
and representatives of the Inter-Parliementary UNion to the proceedings
of the National Convention.
22.the Australian Government press the Government of Burma to begin
immediate negotiations with Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and the leadership of
23.the Australian government urge the Government of Burma to:
(a) release immediately all political detainees;
(b) comply with the request of the INter-Parliementary Union for
information on the names and numbers of all political detainees;
(c) allow private access to delegates of the IPU or the ICRC to these
(d) repeal those laws which include ill-defined offences against
national security (see paragraph 5.44) whic have been used for the
purpose of eliminating opposition.
24.the Australian Government urge the Government of Burma to enact laws
which would ensure freedom of assembly and information so that all citizens
of Burma may participate fully in the political process.
The Committee recommends that:
25.the Australian Government continue to work through the United Nations
for change in Burma and that aat all times the government gove full
support to the work of the Special Rapporteur on Burma in his endeavours
to persuade the Government of Burma to comply with existing UN
26.given that the United States, Japan, the European UNion and the
Commonwealth of Nations encompass most of the developed and the
democratic states of the world, the Australian Government should
continue to work bilaterally and through all relevant multi-lateral
forums to gain an acceptance of the need for political reform as a
prelude to investment in Burma or development assistance to Burma.
27.the Australian Government continue to press the ASEAN countries to:
(a) maintain the constructive aspects to their engagement policy by
pressing the Government of Burma towards further reform - the end to
forced labour, the release of political detainees, dialogue with Aung
San Suu Kyi and the liberalisation of the procedures of the Burmese
National Convention, established to draw up a new constitution; and
(b) ensure that these reforms precede the entry of Burma into ASEAN.
28.The Australian Government continue to encourage the Government of
Thailand to take up the issue of democratic reform with the SLORC as a
matter of mutual interest.
29.the Government of Australia
(a) take every opportunity to express its concern to the Government of
China about china's supply of arms to Burma;
(b) urge the Government of Japan to continue to press the Government of
China about the size and nature of its arms sales internationally; and
in the light of Japan's Overseas Development Assistance Charter and its
aid program with China,
(c) remind the SLORC that the level of arms expenditure is a significant
inhabition if the willingness of the international community to resume
30.(a) the Australian Government should actively encourage Australian
business to act at all times in a manner consistent with Australian law
and human rights objectives, including environmental and women's rights;
(b) consistent with a whole-of-government approach to human rights and
the need to provide business with practical assistance, the Australian
Government should ensure that those government departments, agencies and
services, such as AUSTRADE, which routinely deal with and/ or advise
(i) are fully appraised and routinely updated on Australia's human
rights objectives and relevant human rights intelligence;
(ii)provide appropriate advice to companies human rights matters; and
(iii)establish in cooperation with business organisations a human rights
code practice; and
(c) the Australian government should pursue at the ILO the development
of a convention to require the application of consistent health and
saafety standards for workers in multinational enterprises, ensuring
that the same high standards apply to workers in developing countries as
to those in the country of origin of the enterprise.
31.the Australian Government support the establishment, as outlined in the
ACFOA proposal to the inquiry into Australia' efforts to promote and
protect human rights, of a Human Rights Centre for Dialogue and
Cooperation in Australia. This centre might be established in
conjunction with the Peacekeeping Centre recommended in the Committee's
report on Peacekeeping tabled in December 1994.
32.as long as these is no move to establish a dialogue with Aung San suu
Kyi and the NLD, no broadening of the procedures of the National
Convention, no end to forced labour, nor the release of political
prisoners, the Australian Government:
(a) continue to direct its assistance program to the people on the
(b) consider an increase in health and sanitation programs for the
people in the camps.
33.AusAID set aside some of its funding to Burma for educational programs
directed at the development of civil society and an understanding of
democratic processes amongst the people in the border camps.
34.the Australian Government
(a) increase the intake of students from Burma in this category to a
minimum of 12 per year; and
(b) encourage students to undertake, possibly through the TAFE system,
skills based courses relevant to the fture development needs of Burma.
35.the Australian Government increase numbers in the Special Assistance
Category for people from Burma residing in Thailand to bring it up to
the level of the intake from Rangoon.
36.the Australian government use its influence with other countries and
with the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank to discourage
reinvestment in Burma until political reforms in line with the banks'
good governance policies have begun, in particular the end to forced
labour, the release of political prisoners, dialogue with Aung San Suu
Kyi and changes to the structure and procedures of the National
37.the Australian Government should suggest the value of a regional forum
for the examination of the problems associated with modern government
with a view to developing strategies and programs of assistance for the
enhancement of good government. Such issues as systems of bureaucracy
and administrative practices, legal services and court systems,
parliementary practice or policing might be addressed in this way.
38.when any decision is made in the future to begin development assistance
to burma it should be in the form of project assistance which has as its
objectives the protection of rights and the principles of openness and
accountability which are being sought in the benchmarks.
/* Endreport */