[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index
BURMA HUMAN RIGHTS REPORT (2.22-2.3
Subject: BURMA HUMAN RIGHTS REPORT (2.22-2.31)
/* posted Mon Jan 29 6:00am 1995 by DRUNOO@xxxxxxxxxxxx(DR U NE OO) in igc:reg.burma */
/* -----------" BURMA HUMAN RIGHTS REPORT, OCT 95 (2.23-2.31) "---------- */
Following materials are reproduction from the findings of Human Rights
Sub-Committee of the Joint Standing Committee on Foreign Affair, Defence
and Trade of the Parliament of Australia, published in October 1995.
Anyone wishing to inquire about the document may contact Ms Margaret
Swieringa, Secretary, Human Rights Sub-Committee, Parliament House,
Canberra A.C.T. 2600, AUSTRALIA.
Best regards, U Ne Oo.
CHAPTER TWO: (2.23 - 2.31)
The Parliament of the Commonwealth of Australia
Joint Standing Committee of Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade
A REPORT ON HUMAN RIGHTS AND THE LACK OF PROGRESS TOWARDS DEMOCRACY
IN BURMA (MYANMAR) October 1995
CHAPTER TWO: HUMAN RIGHTS (2.23 - 2.31)
Human Rights - Alternative Views
2.23 A very different view of the human rights situation in Burma was
presented to the inquiry by many witnesses. This evidence came in part from
individual witnesses who talked about their personal experiences. It might
be construed as anecdotal, skewed by the lapse of time or simply a
distortion because individual circumstances were being extrapolated to
characterise the whole. This distortion might be more like to happen if one
assumes that those who have left Burma are more likely to be disaffected.
However, the unchanging story and the significant amount of detail and
photographic proof of physical maltreatment offered by so many witnesses
from different parts of Australia was increasingly persuasive. Moreover,
there was corroboration of these stories by large and reputable
organisations - UN agencies, international human rights organisations and
aid and relief organisations - whose task is to monitor, verify and filter
information in order to arrive at a accurate a picture as possibble.
2.24 In November 1994, Amnesty International concluded that there had been
no fundamental change in the attitude of the governing State Law and Order
Restoration Council (SLORC) towards respecting the basic human rights of
its citizens and that, despite tentative steps towards placating the
international community, the Government had reinforced its repressive hold
within the country .
2.25 The US State Department country reports on human rights practices for
The Government reinforces its rule via a pervasive security
apparatus led by military intelligence, the Directorate of Defence
Services Intelligence (DDSI). Control is buttressed by selective
restrictions on contact with foreigners, survelliance of government
employees and private citizens, harassment of political activists,
intimidation, arrest, detention and physical abuse.
Despite an appearance of greater normalcy fostered by increased
economic activity, in fact the Government's unacceptable record on
human rights changed little in 1994. Out of sight of most visitors,
Burmese citizens continued to live subject at any time and without
appeal to the arbitrary and sometimes brutal dictates of the
military. There continued to be credible reports, particularly from
ethnic minority-dominated areas, that soldiers committed serious
human rights abuses, including extra-judicial killings and
2.26 Human Rights Watch/Asia, in March 1995 noted the release of nearly 100
political prisoners in January to coincide with the visit of
representatives of the UN Secretary-General and a further 31 in March.
Nevertheless they reported continued abuses across the country, especially
in the attacks on the Karens accompanied by forced portering, forced labour
and reprisals against the civilian population and attacks on the refugee
2.27 Freedom House, an American organisation which monitors civil and
political rights and the strength and stability of democracy around the
world, commented in its report on Burma for 1994-95 that:
Burmese citizens cannot change their government democratically. The
ruling military junta has all but decimated any political
opposition. ....... Despite some cosmetic liberalisations in recent
years, the Junta still denies its citizens fundamental rights.
Freedoms of speech, press and associations are severely restricted.
Trade unions, collective bargaining and strikes are illegal ... In
the border areas .... soldiers rape women, force villagers to act
as human mine-sweepers ahead of troops and compel civilians to act
as porters, often until they die of exhaustion or hunger. Captured
rebels have been subjected to torture and extrajudicial
2.28 Freedom House gives a rating to countries on the basis of its
political freedom. It rates Burma at 7, its lowest rating for a country
that is not free.
2.29 The Special Rapporeur of the commission on Human Rights, Mr Yozo
Yokota, in accordance with the Commission resolution 1994/85 visited Burma
from 7-16 November 1994. He noted, since his previous visit, a relaxation
of tension in the life of the people and increased economic activity. He
applauded the cooperation of the Government with himself and the various
international agencies concerned with human rights. However, on examining
his report, it appeared to the Committee that the cooperation of the
Government declined as the Special Rapporteur got closer to any
investigation of the rights and welfare of prisoners or the rights and
freedoms of political leaders or participants. He concluded that there
serious restrictions imposed upon people in the enjoyment of civil
and political rights. Teh people do not generally enjoy freedom of
thought, opinion, expression, publication and peaceful assembly and
association. They seem to be always fearful that anything they or
their family members say or do, particularly in the area of
politics, could put them at risk of arrest and interrogation by the
police or military intelligence. .... Several people told him that
many persons wished to tell the Special Rapporteur their stories,
but were too afraid to come and see him.
2.30 This report will enumerate the kind of human rights abuses wihch were
conveyed to the Committee as ongoing problems in Burma. This will be a
selection only of the cases brought to the Committee's attention. Readers
of the report should look to the volumes of submissions and evidence and to
the list of exhibits to get a comprehensive picture of the complaints.
2.31 The Committee recommends that:
THE AUSTRALIAN GOVERNMENT URGE THE GOVERNMENT OF BURMA TO RATIFY
THE MAJOR HUMAN RIGHTS COVENANTS, THE INTERNATIONAL COVENANTS ON
CIVIL AND POLITICAL RIGHTS (ICCPR) AND THE INTERNATIONAL COVENANT
ON ECONOMIC, SOCIAL AND CULTURAL RIGHTS (ICESCR).
 Exihibit No. 5, Amnesty International, Myanmar: Human rights still
denied, November 1994, p.2.
 Country Report on Human Rights Practices for 1994, Wahsington DC,
Government Printing Office 1995. From the section on Burma.
 Exhibit No. 41, Human Rights Watch/Asia, Burma: Abuses linked to the
fall of Manerplaw, March 1995, p.2.
 Freedom House, Freedom in the World 1994-95, p. 165.
 Exhibit No. 29, Report on the Situation of Human Rights in Myanmar
prepared by the Special Rapporteur, Mr Yozo Yokota, in accordance with
resolution 1994/85, E/CN.4/1995/65, 12 January 1995, p. 34.