EU foreign ministers to meet on Myanmar

Christian rights group urges backing for UN war crimes probe

Mike MacLachlan, London, United Kingdom

April 11, 2011

European Union foreign ministers meet tomorrow to renew their common policy on Myanmar – with the rights group Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW) urging them to support calls for a United Nations commission of inquiry into alleged war crimes and crimes against humanity there. The UN special rapporteur for human rights in Myanmar, Tomás Ojea Quintana, recommended such an inquiry more than a year ago, and repeated the call last October. He told the UN then: “It is essential for investigations of human rights violations to be conducted in an independent, impartial and credible manner, without delay.” At least 12 EU member states have already voiced support for a commission of inquiry, though the EU as a whole has failed to endorse the measure. CSW wrote to a number of EU foreign ministers last week, urging support for a commission. “Bringing principles such as human rights, rule of law and democracy to the core of EU external action will help to ensure an increased consistency in EU foreign policy,” the letter said. CSW’s East Asia team leader, Benedict Rogers, said in a statement: “We warmly welcome the support the UK and other nations have already expressed [for a commission of inquiry]. “We urge those countries that support the commission to work hard to build support within the EU and secure an EU policy that backs the UN special rapporteur.”

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