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Dear Friends,

Having posted the current report of the Special Rapporteur on Myanmar, I
have been asked to post paragraphs 68-76 of this year's report on Myanmar
to the Commission on Human Rights referred to by the Special Rapporteur in
his conclusions.

Here they are, plus the Recommendations.

Here are also instructions, for those with Web access, on how to read and
download documents from the UN Human Rights Website, including reports and
resolutions on Myanmar from previous sessions of the General Assembly and
Commission on Human Rights: 

I would be interested to know how many people have access to email, but
have either no Web access at all, or whose Web access is unreliable. Please
let me know at darnott@xxxxxxxxxxx

Yours sincerely,

David Arnott (Burma Peace Foundation, Geneva)




>From your web browser open the UN Human Rights Website


1) Click on "Documents" in the left hand column

2) (Under "Reports and other documents") click on "Commission on Human
Rights" or "General Assembly"

3) Click on the year you want

4) Scroll down the list or use the "Find" button to find the report you want

5) Copy and paste or "Save as"


click on "Resolutions" in step 1, and continue as above.


While I'm at it, here are instructions on how to use the Burmanet Gopher,
perhaps the best Burma information search tool available online.  It
searches the igc conference reg.burma (whence cometh burmanet-l) from its
beginning at the end of 1993

Click below, or enter the address in your web browser's "open" box.


Enter your search topic and press "Enter"

Since the gopher has a default of 40 topics, you have to append to your
query "-m 13" (or whatever maximum number of topics you want, being careful
to leave a gap between your keyword and the hyphen).  (e.g."kachin -m 13"
gave 13 documents out of 769.  "kachin -m 130" gave 130).  It also supports
Boolean searches.  Thus, when I put in "kachin -m 300 AND women", it gave
me 300 (out of 352), and when I narrowed it down to "kachin -m 300 AND
women AND 1994", it gave me 212 documents. 


COMMISSION ON HUMAN RIGHTS (referred to by the Special Rapporteur in his
report to the GA)

Economic and Social Council                                    
15 January 1998
Original: ENGLISH

Fifty-fourth session
Item 10 of the provisional agenda


               Situation of human rights in Myanmar

Report of the Special Rapporteur, Mr. Rajsoomer Lallah,
submitted in accordance with Commission on Human Rights
resolution 1997/64 




A. The reconstitution of SLORC
B. Rights pertaining to democratic governance
C. Extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions
D. Arbitrary detention
E. Torture and cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment

A. International norms
B. Myanmar women in public life
C. The situation of refugee women
D. Women and forced labour

A. Conclusions
B. Recommendations



A. Conclusions

  68. The Special Rapporteur regrets that, in spite of his
continuing efforts to obtain the authorization of the Government 
of Myanmar to visit the country and in spite of the encouraging 
statements made by the Permanent Representative of Myanmar, both 
in the Commission on Human Rights and the General Assembly, he has 
not so far obtained any response. In this regard, the criticism 
levelled by the authorities against the reports of the Special 
Rapporteur is, in large part, based on the ground that the reports 
rely on information received from outside the country and do not 
reflect the actual situation in Myanmar. It stands to reason that, 
if the General Assembly and the Commission are to benefit from an 
assessment of that criticism, the agreement of the Myanmar 
authorities to a visit by the Special Rapporteur is essential.

  69. The Special Rapporteur has observed the beginnings of a
positive attitude with respect to the easing of restrictions
on political parties, especially in relation to the activities
of the NLD and its right to hold meetings. This change on the
part of the authorities is welcome. However, it would appear
that this change is of a purely formal and limited nature
given the virtually complete control which the authorities
seem to exercise on the freedoms of association, assembly and
expression. The Special Rapporteur notes that the absence     
of respect for the rights pertaining to democratic governance
continues to be at the root of all the major violations of
human rights in Myanmar insofar as this absence is inherent in
a power structure which is autocratic and accountable only to
itself, thus resting on the denial and repression of fundamental 
rights. The Special Rapporteur concludes that
genuine and enduring improvements in the situation of human
rights in Myanmar cannot be attained without respect for the
rights pertaining to democratic governance. In this regard, he
notes with particular concern that the electoral process     
initiated in Myanmar by the general elections of 27 May 1990
has still, after seven years, to reach its conclusion and that
the Government still has not implemented its commitment to
take all necessary steps towards the establishment of
democracy in the light of those elections.

  70. On the basis of his examination of the situation of human 
rights in Myanmar over the past year, the Special Rapporteur has 
unfortunately come to the general conclusion that, except for the 
apparent easing of restrictions on political activities as referred 
to in paragraph 69, there has been no change in that situation 
since his last report to the General Assembly and to the Commission 
on Human Rights. The resolutions of the General Assembly and of the 
Commission have gone largely unheeded by the Government of Myanmar. 
The result is that the conclusions of the Special Rapporteur as 
contained in his reports to the General Assembly at its fifty-second
session (A/52/484, annex, paras. 143-151) and the Commission
on Human Rights at its fifty-third session (E/CN.4/1997/64,
paras. 101-107) remain substantially the same, except for the
fact that, according to certain reports, a meeting took place
in mid-July 1997 between a representative of SLORC and an
official of the NLD. There have been suggestions that the     
substance of those discussions was political in character but
the Special Rapporteur has no concrete information in this

  71. The well-documented reports, photographs and testimonies
received by the Special Rapporteur lead him to conclude that
extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, the practice
of torture, portering and forced labour continue to occur in
Myanmar, particularly in the context of development programmes
and of counter-insurgency operations in minority-dominated

  72. With regard to arbitrary arrest and detention, the
Special Rapporteur does not doubt that such violations take
place on a wide scale if for no other reason than that an
examination of the laws in place show that such violations are
legal and may easily occur. At the same time, the absence of
an independent judiciary, coupled with a host of executive
orders criminalizing far too many aspects of normal civilian
conduct, prescribing enormously disproportionate penalties and
authorizing arrest and detention without judicial review or
any other form of judicial authorization, leads the Special
Rapporteur to conclude that a significant percentage of all
arrests and detentions in Myanmar are arbitrary when measured
by generally accepted international standards. In this regard,
the Special Rapporteur expresses his deep concern at the
continued detention of many political prisoners, in particular
elected representatives, and the continuing arrests and
harassment of supporters of democratic groups in Myanmar.

  73. Because of both visible and invisible pressures, the
people of Myanmar live in a climate of fear in which whatever
they or their family members may say or do, particularly in
the exercise of their political rights, involves the risk of
arrest and interrogation by the police or military intelligence. 
The Special Rapporteur notes that NLD leaders
cannot assemble in a group, cannot freely discuss, and cannot
publish or distribute printed or video material. In this
situation it is difficult to assume that open discussion and
free exchanges of views and opinions can possibly take place
in Myanmar, unless they are in support of the military regime.

  74. Turning to freedom of movement and residence in Myanmar,
including the right to leave and re-enter one's own country,
the Special Rapporteur concludes that there are clear
violations of those freedoms in both law and practice.
Specifically, severe, unreasonable and, in the case of the
Muslim Rakhine population, racially based restrictions are
placed on travel inside the country and abroad. On the matter
of internal deportations and forced relocations, the Special
Rapporteur concludes that the Government's policy violates
freedom of movement and residence and, in some cases,
constitutes discrimination based on ethnic considerations.

  75. In his report to the General Assembly, the Special
Rapporteur analysed the laws relating to citizenship and their
effect on the exercise of civil and political rights. He
raised serious questions of the consistency of those laws with
generally accepted international norms, since those laws
appear to be discriminatory on the basis of ethnicity, fail to
ensure equality before the law, and do not provide special
measures of protection to which children are entitled. In the
short term, this situation produces serious violations of the
rights of both minorities and other persons living in the
country as well as a sense of not belonging to Myanmar. In the
long term, the situation is likely to discourage a sense of
national unity and to encourage and exacerbate secessionist
movements likely to be destructive of a multi-ethnic and
multi-religious nation. Sheer repression following efforts at
ceasefire agreements would not appear to be the answer.

  76. The Special Rapporteur welcomes the ratification by
Myanmar of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of
Discrimination against Women in 1997. In this regard, he hopes
that the Government of Myanmar will also ratify the Convention
for the Suppression of the Traffic in Persons and of the
Exploitation of the Prostitution of Others, signed by Myanmar
on 14 March 1956.

B. Recommendations

  77. In the light of the foregoing conclusions, the Special
Rapporteur submits the following recommendations.

  78. To ensure that the institutions of government genuinely
reflect the will of the people, in conformity with article 21
of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, steps should be
taken to allow all citizens to participate freely in the
political process, in accordance with the principles of the
Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and to accelerate the
process of transition to democracy, in particular through the
transfer of power to the democratically elected representatives. 
The institutions of the Union of Myanmar
should be such as to ensure that the executive authorities are
accountable to the citizenry in a clear and meaningful way.
Furthermore, steps should also be taken to restore the
independence of the judiciary and to subject the executive to
the rule of law and render unjust and unjustifiable actions

  79. All necessary measures should be taken to accelerate the
process of transition to a democratic order and to involve in
a meaningful way in that process the representatives duly
elected in 1990. In this regard, genuine and substantive
discussions should take place without further delay between
the present military regime and the leaders of the National
League for Democracy and with other political leaders who
were duly elected in the democratic elections of 1990,
including representatives of the ethnic minorities. Certain
steps taken in July 1997 by the SLORC, and in December 1997 by
the SPDC, to initiate such discussions are a welcome and
positive development, but one which requires to be
intensified. The SPDC should do all it can to ensure
that the character and substance of the discussions are
genuine and are perceived to be so by all the participants and
the people generally. In addition, political parties should be
free to decide the composition of their own delegations for
the purposes of the dialogue. 

  80. Immediate measures should be taken to put an end to the
harassment of the leaders and the members of the National
League for Democracy, to ensure that the General Secretary of
the National League for Democracy is genuinely free and able
to exercise her functions without fear of attack, and to ensure 
that all political parties are able freely to carry out their 
activities. In other words, the present embargo or recess on the 
exercise of political rights, which is rigidly enforced by exceptional 
legal and administrative machinery, should be ended. Political 
"detente" should replace the political embargo by way of a general 
amnesty or otherwise.

  81. All political detainees, including elected political
representatives, students, workers, peasants and others
arrested or detained under martial law for the exercise of
their normal civil and political rights after the 1988 and
1990 demonstrations or as a result of the National Convention
should be immediately released. The Government should also
ensure that there are no acts of intimidation, threats or
reprisal against them or their families and should take
appropriate measures to compensate all those who have suffered
arbitrary arrest or detention.

  82. Constitutionality and the rule of law should be
re-established and orders and decrees should no longer be the
basis of law. All laws rendering violations of human rights
legitimate should be repealed urgently and all laws should be
given due publicity. The laws in Myanmar should be brought
into conformity with international standards regarding the
rights relating to protection of physical integrity, including
the right to life, protection against disappearance,    
prohibition of torture and cruel, inhuman or degrading
treatment, providing humane conditions for all persons under
detention and ensuring the minimum standards of judicial

  83. Particular attention should be given to conditions in 
the country's prisons and all the necessary steps taken to allow 
international humanitarian organizations to have access
thereto and to communicate freely and confidentially with

  84. Urgent steps should be taken to facilitate and guarantee
the enjoyment of the freedoms of opinion, expression and
association, in particular by decriminalizing the expression
of opposition views and by relinquishing government controls
over the media and literary and artistic works.

  85. Restrictions relating to the entry and exit of citizens
into and out of the country, as well as their movement within
the country, should be abolished.

  86. All discriminatory policies which interfere with the free 
and equal enjoyment of property should cease and adequate
compensation should be paid to those who have been arbitrarily
or unjustly deprived of their property.

  87. The Government of Myanmar should fulfil its obligations
under ILO Convention No. 87 concerning Freedom of Association
and Protection of the Right to Organize of 1948. In compliance
with this Convention, it should guarantee by law the right of
trade unions to exist and operate freely. In that respect, the
Government of Myanmar is encouraged to cooperate more closely
with the ILO through a technical cooperation programme so that
the very serious discrepancies between the law and the practice 
on the one hand, and the Convention on the other
hand, are eliminated urgently. 

  88. The Government of Myanmar is urged to comply with its
obligations under ILO Convention No. 29, prohibiting the
practice of forced labour. In this connection, the Government
of Myanmar should urgently take the appropriate measures to
repeal the offending legal provisions under the Village Act
and the Towns Act to halt the practice of forced labour. The
Government of Myanmar is encouraged to cooperate with the     
Commission of Inquiry established by the ILO. 

  89. Urgent steps should be taken to put an end to the
enforced displacement of persons and to create appropriate
conditions to prevent the flow of refugees to neighbouring
States. In the event that the relocation of villagers becomes
necessary in circumstances which are in conformity with
international norms, proper consultations should take place
with the villagers, including the payment of appropriate
compensation, reviewable by independent courts, and the     
taking of measures to ensure that food, housing facilities,
proper medical care and social amenities, including appropriate 
arrangements for the education of children, are
provided in adequate measure in the interest of the displaced

  90. The Government of Myanmar should refrain from actions
which contribute to insecurity affecting the population, such
as the use of military force and bombardments against civilian
targets along the border with Thailand. In this regard, given
the great number of allegations of summary or arbitrary
executions and other grave human rights violations,
particularly in areas where ethnic minorities live or to
which they are being forcibly displaced, it is of the utmost
importance that the new government conduct a high-level
inquiry with broad terms of reference, specifically to gauge
the extent of the violations and to propose remedial measures.

  91. In order to promote repatriation of the Myanmar Muslims
and other minorities, the Government should create the
necessary conditions of respect for their human rights. The
Government should ensure, in law and in practice, their safe
return and resettlement in their villages of origin. To this
end, it should also promote their complete civil, political,
social, economic and cultural participation in Myanmar without
restriction or discrimination.

  92. The laws relating to citizenship should be revised in
order to ensure that they have no unfavourable incidence on
the exercise of civil and political rights and to be
consistent with generally accepted norms. In particular these
laws should be substantially revised so as to remove all
discriminatory features based on ethnicity, legal status     
and adverse impact on the right of children to have a
nationality. Further, necessary measures should be adopted by
the administration to ensure that citizenship can be obtained
without burdensome and unrealistic administrative procedures
and requirements. These laws should also be brought into
conformity with the principles embodied in the 1961 Convention
on the Reduction of Statelessness. Consideration should also
be given by Myanmar to ratify that Convention as well as the
1951 Convention relating to the Status of Refugees and its     
1967 Protocol. 

  93. Military and law enforcement personnel, including prison
guards, should be thoroughly trained and informed as to their
responsibility to treat all persons in full accordance with
international human rights norms and humanitarian law. Such
standards should be incorporated in Myanmar law, including the
new constitution to be drafted.

  94. Given the magnitude of the abuses, the Government should
subject all officials committing human rights abuses and
violations to strict disciplinary control and punishment and
put an end to the culture of impunity that prevails at present
in the public and military sectors. 

  95. The Government of Myanmar is urged to fulfil in good
faith the obligations it has assumed under Articles 55 and 56
of the Charter of the United Nations to take joint and
separate action in cooperation with the Organization for the
achievement of universal respect for, and observance of, human
rights and fundamental freedoms for all without distinction as
to race, sex, language or religion. In this respect, the
Special Rapporteur wishes to encourage the Government of
Myanmar to adopt, as one of the basic constitutional
principles, the provisions of the Universal Declaration of
Human Rights, a copy of which should be made widely available
in the main languages spoken in Myanmar.

  96. The Government of Myanmar should consider accession to
the International Covenants on Human Rights, the Convention
against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading
Treatment or Punishment, and the two Protocols Additional to
the Geneva Conventions of 1949. In the meantime, it should
ensure that the principles proclaimed in those international
instruments are applied, in order to evidence a firm     
commitment to the promotion and protection of human rights
without discrimination of any kind.

  97. The Government of Myanmar should take early steps to
amend all existing laws, orders or decrees in order to ensure
that its international obligations with regard to the rights
of women are effectively implemented, including by the
adoption of administrative and other measures as well as the
allocation of sufficient funds. In addition, in the drafting
of a new constitution, steps should be taken to ensure that
the rights of women with regard to equality and non-
discrimination are guaranteed by the enactment of basic