[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index ][Thread Index ]


/* posted Wed 9 Oct 6:00am 1996 by DRUNOO@xxxxxxxxxxxx in igc:soc.culture.burma */
/* ---------------" UNCHR Report, 5 February 1996 (1/5)"---------------- */
[ U.N. Commission on Human Rights report on 1996 is posted here for your
reference. The Official records of U.N. documents may be found in your
public library. -- U Ne Oo.]

5 February 1993

Original: ENGLISH

Forty-second session
Item 10 of the provisional agenda


Report on the situation of human rights in Myanmar, prepared by
Mr. Yozo Yokota, Special Rapporteur of the Commission on Human Rights,
in accordance with Commission resolution 1995/72

CONTENTS                                                  para.     page

Introduction............................................. 1 - 18      3
   A. Mandate ........................................... 1 - 4       3
   B. Historical background ............................. 5 - 18      4
I. ACTIVITIES OF THE SPECIAL RAPPORTEUR ................. 19 - 84     6
   A. Introduction ...................................... 19          6
   B. Visit to Myanmar .................................. 20 - 83     6
   C. Visits to camps in Thailand .......................   84       17
II. ALLEGATIONS ......................................... 85 - 164   17
   A. Extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions .... 85 - 92    17
   B. Arbitrary arrest and detention .................... 93 -113    18
   C. Torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading
      treatment ......................................... 114-117    24
   D. Freedom of expression and association ............. 118 - 133  25
   E. Freedom of movement and forced relocation ......... 134 - 140  28
   F. labour rights ..................................... 141 - 144  29
   G. The National Convention and the process of
      democratization ................................... 145 - 152  30
   H. The movement toward reconciliation with the
      insurgents ........................................ 153 - 160  31
   I. The treatment of the Muslim population in
      Rakhine State ..................................... 161 - 164  33
III. CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS .................... 165 - 180  33
   A. Conclusions ....................................... 165 - 180  33
   B. Recommendations ...................................    180     36

(Documents given to the Special Rapporteur by the Myanmar authorities )

I. Extract from the Prisons Act, 1894 (Sect. 40, provision 784) ..... 40
II. Directive No.125 prohibiting unpaid labour contributions
    in national developments projects ............................... 41
III. Directive No.82 to stop obtaining labour without
    compensation from the local people in irrigation projects ....... 42

A. Mandate

1. The mandate of the Special Rapporteur of the Commission on Human Rights
on the situation of human rights in Myanmar has been described in each of
the Special Rapporteur's previous reports to the General Assembly
(A/47/651, A/48/578, A 49/594 and A/50/568) and to the Commission on Human
Rights (E/CN.4/1993/37, E/CN.4/1994/57 and E/CN.4/1995/65). The mandate,
initially articulated in Commission resolution 1992/58 and extended most
recently by the Commission in its resolution 1995/72 of March 1995
(approved by the Economic and Social Council in its decision 1995/283 of 25
July 1995), required the Special Rapporteur to establish or to continue
direct contacts with the Government and the people of Myanmar, including
political leaders deprived of their liberty, their families and their
lawyers, with a view to examining the situation of human rights in Myanmar
and following any progress made towards the transfer of power to a civilian
government and the drafting of a new constitution, the lifting of
restrictions on personal freedoms and the restoration of human rights in
Myanmar. In resolution 1995/72, the Commission urged the Government of
Myanmar to extend its full and unreserved cooperation to the Commission and
the Special Rapporteur and, to that end, to ensure that the Special
Rapporteur had effectively free access to any person in Myanmar whom he
might deem it appropriate to meet in the performance of his mandate,
including Daw Aung San Suu Kyi; requested the Secretary-General to give all
necessary assistance to the Special Rapporteur; and requested the Special
Rapporteur to report to the General Assembly at its fiftieth session and to
the Commission at its fifty-second session.

2. The substantive issues addressed by the Commission on Human Rights in
resolution 1995/72 included the following concerns: that the electoral
process initiated in Myanmar by the general elections of 27 may 1990 had
not yet reached its conclusion and that the Government still had not
implemented its commitments to take all the necessary steps towards
democracy in the light of those elections; that many  political leaders, in
particular elected representatives, remained deprived of their liberty;
that Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, Nobel Peace Prize laureate, was still under
house arrest; that there had been a recent offensive against the Karen
National Union, Burmese student activists and other groups of the political
opposition which resulted in an exodus of refugees into Thailand. The
Commission also expressed its grave concern that serious violations of a
variety of fundamental rights continued, inter alia the practice of forced
labour, including forced portering, and forced displacement of the

3. In addition, the Commission took note of the fact that the Government of
Myanmar had acceded to the Geneva Conventions of 12 August 1949; withdrawn
reservations it had entered concerning the Convention on the Rights of the
Child; freed a certain number of political prisoners, in response to the
concerns repeatedly expressed by the international community; received the
Special Rapporteur for a visit to Myanmar; and observed cease-fire
agreements with ethnic groups.

4. The Special Rapporteur submitted a preliminary report to the General
Assembly at its fiftieth session in October 1995 (A/50/568). The present
comprehensive report is submitted to the Commission on Human Rights at its
fifty-second session for its consideration.

B. Historical background

5. In 1948, the Union of Myanmar (then called Burma) gained independence
from British colonial rule. From 1948 until 1962, the country was governed
by a parliamentary democracy based on the Constitution of 2 September 1947.
It provided for a federal system of government with separate executive,
legislative and judicial branches. The States under the Union were
considered autonomous. According to article 201 of theConstitution of 1947,
ethnic minorities had, in theory, the right to secede from the Union, but,
under article 202, this right was not to be exercised until 10 years from
the date of entry into force of the Constitution. In March 1948, an armed
insurgency against the then Government of Burma was begun by the Communist
Party of Burma. Between 1948 and 1961, various minority ethnic groups joined
the armed insurgency.

6. In March 1962, General Ne Win took power in a coup d'etat. He installed
one-party (the Burma Socialist Programme Party) rule under military
control. He embarked upon a programme known as the "Burmese Way to
Socialism". In 1974, a new constitution was drafted under which one-party
rule continued.

7. Towards 1988, nationwide demonstrations began in reaction to the
suppression of all civil and political rights since the overthrow of the
constitutional government in 1962 and to the economic failure as a
consequence of the policy of the Burmese Way to Socialism.

8. From March to June 1988, students, workers and monks demonstrated for
more freedom and democracy, but the army used harsh measures to crush the
demonstrations. Hundreds of civilians were arrested and many suffered
severe injuries or died from ill-treatment in detention. Many persons were
summarily or arbitrarily executed. On 21 June 1988, the Government imposed
a ban on all public gatherings.

9. On 23 July 1988, General Ne Win resigned as party leader and promised
economic reform and the holding of a referendum to end one-party rule and
institute a multi-party system. However, demonstrations continued and the
Army and riot police attacked the demonstrators. It was reported that
approximately 3,000 persons were killed in August 1988 alone. On 18
September 1988, the military took power and the State Law and Order
Restoration Council (SLORC) was set up under the chairmanship of the Chief
of Staff, Senior General Saw Maung. The National Assembly (Pyithu Hluttaw),
the Council of State and other governmental bodies were dissolved. Free
elections were promised by SLORC but Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, daughter of
General Aung San (the national hero of independence who was assassinated in
1947) and General Secretary of the National League for Democracy (NLD), was
banned from campaigning on the grounds that she kept unlawful association
with insurgent organizations. On 20 July 1989, Daw Aung San Suu Kyi was
detained by government forces. She was kept under house arrest without
trial and, in 1991, she was awarded the Nobel Prize for Peace. many others,
including most of the important opposition political leaders, were also

10. On 27 May 1990, general elections were held in which the main
opposition party (NLD) won 81 per cent of the seats (392 out of 485 in
total) and 60 per cent of the votes. However, the official announcement of
the results of the elections was postponed by SLORC in order to allow the
Election Commission set up by SLORC to scrutinize the expense accounts of
all elected representatives.

11. Beginning in early 1992, a mass exodus of Myanmar Muslims from Rakhine
State into Bangladesh was reported. At least 250,000 such persons sought
refuge for fear of persecution. On 28 April s1992, the Governments of
Myanmar And Bangladesh signed an agreement for the voluntary and safe
return of the refugees. By October 1993, approximately 40,000 refugees had
returned to Myanmar under this arrangement.

12. On 5 November 1993, the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner
for Refugees (UNHCR) and the Government of Myanmar signed a memorandum of
understanding in an effort to ensure the voluntary and safe repatriation of
the persons who had left the country for Bangladesh. This memorandum of
understanding was similar to the one between UNHCR and the Government of
Bangladesh signed on 12 May 1993. Both Governments expressed satisfaction
at this accord and the participation of UNHCR, since it was the
responsibility of the country of refuge to assure the voluntariness of
repatriation, while it was the responsibility of Myanmar to assure safety
upon return. From September 1992 to the end of October 1995, a total of
more than 190,000 refugee out of approximately 250,000 have returned to

13. In April 1992, General Than Shwe became Chairman of SLORC after General
Saw Maung had resigned from the post for reasons of health. Since this
change of leadership, a number of new policies had been announced and
implemented, including: the release of many political leaders in detention
(including the former Prime Minister U Nu, but not Daw Aung San Suu Kyi);
the holding of national convention for drafting the principles and
guidelines for a new constitution; the granting of permission to the family
of Daw Aung San Suu Kyi to visit her; the opening of universities and other
institutions of higher education; the lifting of the curfew order and
martial law; and the cessation of military tribunals for civilian cases.

14. On 9 January 1993, the National Convention was convened. The
participants were composed of 702 delegates from eight categories, as
follows: (a) representatives of political parties, including NLD (49); (b)
representatives elected in the 1990 elections (107); (c) representatives of
national racial groups (215); (d) representatives of peasants (93); (e)
representatives of workers (48); (f) representatives of the intelligentsia
and technocrats (41); (g) representatives of State service personnel (92);
and (h) other invited persons (57). The meeting of the National Convention
has been adjourned several times for reasons not quite clear to outside

15. On 15 March 1995, the Government of Myanmar released two prominent NLD
leaders, namely U Kyi Maung and U Tin Oo.

16. When the National Convention adjourned on 8 April 1995, the Chairman of
the National Convention and Chief Justice U Aung Toe stated that agreement
had been reached on laying down principles for the designation of
self-administered divisions and self-administered zones under the chapter
of the constitution entitled "State structure".

17. On 10 July 1995, after six years of house arrest, the Government of
Myanmar announced that restrictions on Daw Aung San Suu Kyi had been lifted
and that she had been released without conditions.

18. On 28 November 1995, the Government of Myanmar reconvened the National
Convention. The subjects on its current agenda are: the legislature; the
executive and the judiciary branch. Like the previous sessions, the plenary
opening session was attended by, among others, five NLD delegates included
in the political parties delegates group, and 81 elected NLD
representatives included in the elected representative group. Following the
opening address delivered by Lt. Gen. Myo Nyunt, chairman of the National
convention Convening Commission, the representatives and delegates of NLD
decided to withdraw from the Convention and to boycott its current session.
The NLD leaders said that its delegates would only attend the Convention
again if the military authorities began a dialogue with party leaders.
After the withdrawal of the members of NLD, which, despite winning 80 per
cent of the seats in the 1990 general elections had been allocated only 15
per cent of the 702 delegates, the Chairman of the Convention invited the
remaining delegates to continue their work in accordance with the original

A. Introduction

19. As regards his efforts to fulfill the mandate entrusted to him by
Commission resolution 1995/72, the Special Rapporteur would have to report
that the restrictive measures taken by the UNited Nations Secretariat in
New York, as a result of the financial crisis, have created great
difficulties to him and seriously impeded his activities. In particular,
the Special Rapporteur would like to record his disappointment as to the
fact that his travel to Myanmar was authorized with only 24 hours' notice
and that no interpreter was assigned to him to enable him to carry out this
very important mission efficiently and effectively. This is contrary to
paragraph 24 of the Commission's resolution, which specifically "requests
the Secretary-General to give all necessary assistance to the Special

B. Visit to Myanmar

20. On 4 September 1995, the Special Rapporteur addressed a letter to the
Government of Myanmar requesting permission to visit the country from 8 to
17 October 1995. On 28 September 1995, in a letter from the Permanent
Representative of Myanmar to the United Nations Office at Geneva, the
Special Rapporteur was informed that the proposed dates for his visit had
been tentatively agreed to. On 29 September 1995, the Special Rapporteur
addressed another letter to the Government of Myanmar, in which he
requested audiences with high governmental officials and meetings in
circumstances providing full confidentiality with leaders of political
parties, including those in detention or under restriction. The Special
Rapporteur also requested full and free access to all individuals,
representatives of non-governmental and intergovernmental organizations,
whom he might deem it necessary to meet in carrying out his mandate or who
might have expressed the wish to meet him. He further requested permission
to visit prisons and other centres of detention, with confidential and
unrestricted access to those detained. In addition, the Special Rapporteur
requested that he be granted full access to other areas of the country, in
particular Shan and Kachin States, for the purpose of visiting some
development or construction sites, specifically the Mong Kwan electric power
plant where many forced labourers are reported to be working and
Myitkyina-Sumprabom Road or Myitkyana-Shwe Lawkhaungog Road.

21. The Special Rapporteur visited Myanmar from 8 to 17 October 1995. Prior
to the visit, he had been in frequent contact with the Permanent
Representative of Myanmar to the United Nations Office at Geneva and with
the Minister for Foreign Affairs, who cooperated fully and facilitated the
visit. During his visit to Myanmar all of the Special Rapporteur's specific
requests for meetings with high-level government officials were met.
Similarly, visits to Shan and Kachin States were facilitated with
appropriate briefings meetings and visits. During this visit, the Special
Rapporteur enjoyed freedom of movement and freedom of access to private
persons and others of interest, with some notable exceptions which will be
addressed below. the Special Rapporteur would like to record his deep
appreciation to the Government of Myanmar for its cooperation in
facilitating his visit to the country and in responding to his requests for
information and explanation.

22. In Yangon, the Special Rapporteur met with the following governmental
representatives: Lieutenant-General Khin Nyunt, Secretary One of SLORC; U
Nyunt Swe, Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs; Lieutenant-General Mya
Thinn, Minister for Home Affairs; Brigadier-General D.O. Abel, Minister for
National Planning and Economic Development; Major-General Aye Kyaw,
Minister for Information; U Tha Tun, the Attorney-General; and U Aung Toe,
Chief Justice of the Supreme Court.

23. In the course of his visit to Myanmar, the Special Rapporteur paid
visits to the following governmental institutions and facilities: Insein
and Myitkyina prisons.

24. The Special 'Rapporteur met with representatives of the following
political parties which are participating in the National convention
drafting the new constitution of the Union of Myanmar: the National League
for Democracy (NLD); the Union Kayene League; and the National Unity Party

25. While the information and views obtained in the course of his visits
and meetings will be reflected below under relevant subject headings, the
Special Rapporteur draws attention here to the salient aspects of the
visits and meetings mentioned above.

[II.B] 1. Meeting with Secretary One