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Rights group steps up criticism on Myanmar

New parliament is a complete sham, says Christian Solidarity Worldwide

Rights group steps up criticism on Myanmar
People outside the Myanmar embassy in Bangkok protesting the Myanmar military’s violent suppression of basic rights (File photo)
The religious rights organization Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW) on Feb. 1 stepped up its criticism of the Myanmar military regime following the first United Nations review of human rights in the country last week.

The UN Human Rights Council met in Geneva on Jan. 25 to hear Myanmar representatives defend the country’s human rights record as part of the Universal Periodic Review (UPR), which involves a review of the human rights record of all UN members once every four years.

During the three-hour meeting, the regime came under fire from the Maldives permanent representative to the UN in Geneva, Iruthisham Adam, who called for substantial and transparent reforms.

These included ratifying key UN human rights treaties such as the convention against torture, establishing dialogue with the opposition to bring about democratic change, renewing an agreement on prison visits with the International Red Cross and freely cooperating with UN human rights special rapporteurs.

She told Myanmar officials that the recent general election was neither free nor fair and predicted that the government’s seven-step “road map for democracy” would fail unless it was conducted in an “open, transparent and inclusive manner.”

CSW’s East Asia team leader, Benedict Rogers, reinforced this criticism yesterday. He told ucanews.com: “The new parliament is a complete sham, a rubber-stamp body for the military regime which continues to hold real power.

“It was elected in sham elections, based on a flawed constitution that guarantees military power and provides the army with immunity from prosecution from its crimes.

“The UPR is the latest in a series of international statements … highlighting the litany of gross violations of human rights perpetrated by the regime. The time has come for the UN to take a proactive role in trying to facilitate a dialogue between the regime, the democracy movement led by Aung San Suu Kyi and the ethnic nationalities.”

Related report
Pressure mounts on Myanmar as polls near

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