Commission on Human Rights: extract on Myanmar from
the Summary Record of the 57th meeting
(agenda item 9) (continued) (E/CN.4/2004/L.34; draft decision
concerning agenda sub‑item 9 (a))
concerning the situation of human rights in Myanmar (E/CN.4/2004/L.34)
(Ireland), introducing draft resolution E/CN.4/2004/L.24 on behalf of its
sponsors, thanked the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in
Myanmar for his work to date and expressed the hope that he would be able to
further investigate the major areas of concern identified in the draft
resolution with the full cooperation of the Government of Myanmar.
draft resolution welcomed recent positive developments in Myanmar such as the visits to the country
by the Special Rapporteur and the Special Envoy of the Secretary‑General. It also welcomed Myanmar’s continued cooperation with the
International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and the Government’s
agreement of May 2003 on the International Labour Organization (ILO) Plan of
Action for the Elimination of Forced Labour Practices in Myanmar, but noted that conditions for
implementation of the Plan did not exist for the time being.
draft resolution expressed serious concern at the ongoing systematic violations
of human rights in Myanmar, at the events of 30 May 2003 and the subsequent detention of
the leadership of the National League for Democracy (NLD) and the house
arrest of Aung San Suu Kyi.
It further expressed grave concern at the violations of the rights of
persons belonging to ethnic minorities, at the situation of a large number of
internally displaced persons and at the flow of refugees to neighbouring
countries. It called on the Government
to fulfil its obligations to restore the independence of the judiciary and due
process of law, and to take further steps to reform the administration of
draft resolution strongly urged the Government to end the systematic violations
of human rights, to restore democracy and respect the results of the 1990
elections, and to release Aung San Suu Kyi and other members of the NLD.
number of revisions to the draft resolution had been agreed after consultations
with interested delegations, including the delegation of Myanmar.
The following new paragraph had been inserted after the first preambular paragraph:
“Reaffirming that all Member
States have an obligation to promote and protect human rights and fundamental
freedoms and the duty to fulfil the obligation they have undertaken under the
various international instruments in the field”.
In the fourth preambular
paragraph the words “Security Council resolution 1325 (2000) of 31 October 2000 on women, peace and security and” had been deleted. In operative paragraph 1 (a) a
reference to document E/CN.4/2004/30 had been inserted in parentheses after the
reference to document A/58/325 and Add.1.
In paragraph 1 (g) the words “her efforts to fulfil her mandate”
had been replaced by “his efforts to fulfil his mandate”. The following new paragraph had been inserted
after paragraph 1:
“Takes note of the efforts of
the Government of Myanmar to meet the HIV/AIDS challenge and calls upon it to
enhance its efforts in this regard and to support the effective implementation
of the United Nations Joint Plan of Action, in cooperation with the relevant
hoped that, as in previous years, the draft resolution would be adopted without
The CHAIRPERSON announced that there were two additional sponsors, who would be listed
in the Commission’s report.
Mr. Hyuck CHOI (Republic of Korea) said that the Republic of Korea, as a sponsor of the draft
resolution, reiterated its firm belief in the need to uphold human rights in
the process of national reconciliation and transition to democracy in Myanmar.
While taking note of the Government’s commitment to implement the seven‑step
road map, he stressed the importance of establishing a concrete timeframe for
its implementation. With regard to the
National Convention to be convened on 17 May 2004 to draft a new constitution, the Republic of Korea believed that it was essential for
all political parties and ethnic groups to participate in the process. It offered its full support to the Government
in its efforts to restore democracy and to promote and protect human rights.
Mr. WILLIAMSON (United States of America), noting that his delegation was a sponsor of
the draft resolution, said that the United States continued to work to promote democracy
and improve human rights in Burma and was unwavering in its support for the
establishment of democracy there. It
deplored the unlawful imprisonment of Aung San Suu Kyi and Tin Oo following the
attack on their convoy in May 2003 and called for their unconditional release
from house arrest.
hoped that the recent reopening of NLD headquarters in Rangoon and the release of U Lwin and Aung Shwe would lead to further progress towards
national reconciliation. For a
constitutional convention to be successful, however, the political opposition
and ethnic groups must be involved in the preparations and the convention
itself. Aung San Suu Kyi and other NLD
leaders must also be released so that they could participate fully in
preparations for national reconciliation and democracy. He called on the Government to develop a
timetable for the establishment of democracy.
United States remained deeply troubled by the military’s
abuse of ethnic minority civilians, including rape, torture, murder, forced relocation
and confiscation of property. The
Government continued to restrict freedom of religion, promoting Buddhism over
other religions and imposing restrictions on religious minorities, especially
ethnic Rohingya Muslims and Chin, Kachin,
Karen and Naga Christians. The United States had designated Burma a “country of particular concern”
in 2003 on account of its severe violations of religious freedom.
United States encouraged the international community,
especially Asian countries, to increase their engagement with the Government on
those issues and urged the Government to continue cooperating with the
Commission’s special procedures. It
supported the call by the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights
in Myanmar for an investigation into the May 2003 attack
at Depeyin and the human rights abuses against ethnic
Mr. SOBASHIMA (Japan) said that his delegation supported
the draft resolution. Japan had been working closely with the
international community to support the efforts of the Government of Myanmar to
promote democratization, structural economic reforms and human rights. It was important for the international
community to send a balanced message to Myanmar by acknowledging substantial
positive developments in addition to addressing existing problems. The draft resolution should not isolate Myanmar but encourage it to make every
effort to improve the current situation and advance the process of national
reconciliation. Japan was prepared to assist Myanmar in achieving those goals.
Mr. WANG Min (China) said that Myanmar had taken a number of positive
steps over the past year aimed at national reconciliation, human rights
development and international cooperation.
The Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Myanmar had recognized those efforts in his
report (E/CN.4/2004/33). He regretted,
however, that the draft resolution did not fully and accurately reflect those
positive developments. China was not in favour of applying
political pressure to the people and Government of Myanmar through the adoption
of a country‑specific resolution.
As a friendly neighbour, China had been following developments in
the country and understood its special difficulties. It appreciated the Government’s efforts to
promote and protect human rights and hoped that Myanmar would
soon enjoy political stability, national harmony and economic development.
(Observer for Myanmar) said that the draft resolution was
far from being fair, constructive, balanced or forward‑looking. Myanmar was at a critical juncture in its
political evolution and the current positive developments had given rise to
optimism. The seven‑step road map
announced by the Prime Minister was the key to the country’s political future,
and the first step - the reconvening of the National Convention - would be
taken the following month. The road map
had been welcomed by the countries attending the summit of the Association of
Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) in October 2003 and by other countries in the
region, and the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Myanmar had referred to it as a positive
development. But neither the road map
nor the reconvening of the National Convention had been mentioned in the draft
resolution. However, Myanmar’s full cooperation with the ILO,
the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), the
United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), ICRC, the Special Envoy of the
Secretary‑General and the Commission’s Special Rapporteur had been
sweeping allegations by some non‑governmental organizations (NGOs) about
violence against women in Shan State and other states were entirely
unfounded. Women were held in high
esteem in Myanmar society and were never subjected to
any form of degrading treatment. A
milestone in the advancement of women had been the recent establishment of the
Myanmar Women’s Affairs Federation, which had held its first conference a few
weeks previously. The recommendations
adopted at the conference included measures to combat violence against women
and trafficking in women and children.
the efforts by his delegation and those of friendly countries, the draft
resolution left a great deal to be desired and his delegation rejected it. Nevertheless, Myanmar would continue to cooperate with
the Commission to the extent possible.
The draft resolution, as orally revised, was adopted without a vote.
concerning agenda sub‑item 9 (a)
The CHAIRPERSON read out the following draft decision on agenda sub‑item
its 57th meeting on 21 April 2004, the Commission on Human Rights decided,
without a vote, to retain on its agenda sub‑item 9 (a), entitled
‘Question of human rights in Cyprus’, of the item entitled ‘Question of the
violation of human rights and fundamental freedoms in any part of the world’
and to give it due priority at its sixty‑first session, it being
understood that action required by previous resolutions of
the Commission on the subject would continue to remain operative, including the
request to the Secretary‑General to submit a report to the Commission
regarding their implementation.”
The draft decision was adopted without a vote.