(Irrawaddy) The Australian government expressed support for investigating possible options to establish a United Nations commission of inquiry to investigate crimes
against humanity in Burma at a UN Human Rights Council meeting on Monday.
Tomas Ojea Quintana, the UN special rapporteur on human rights who just returned from his third visit to Burma in February, has called for the UN to consider establishing a commission of inquiry with a specific fact-finding mandate to investigate possible war crimes and crimes against humanity in Burma.
His report to the human rights council confirmed the dire rights situation in Burma and reaffirmed the need for the international community to remain engaged in seeking to improve the situation, according to a statement by the Permanent Mission of Australian to the UN in Geneva.
Countries participating in the discussion on Burma were Italy, Canada, the Philippines, Japan, the European Union, the Republic of Korea, the United Kingdom, Cuba, Belgium, Argentina, the Lao People’s Democratic Republic, China, the United States, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Viet Nam, Switzerland, Norway, Australia, Thailand, Malaysia and Bangladesh.
Various non-governmental organizations including The Asian Forum for Human Rights and Development; Reporters without Borders International; International Federation for Human Rights Leagues; Human Rights Watch; Asian Legal Resource Centre; and Amnesty International also contributed to the discussion or issued statement on the issue.
Human Rights Watch (HRW) urged the UN to establish a commission without delay at the highest levels of the UN.
Research by HRW has concluded that a range of crimes continue against minorities in Burma and identified it as the most repressive country in Asia.
Meanwhile, British Prime Minister Gordon Brown released a statement on Wednesday saying that Burma had ignored the demand of the UN and international community by imposing restrictive and unfair terms for the election it will hold later this year.
“The targeting of Aung San Suu Kyi and the NLD is particularly vindictive and callous. We will also seek international support to impose an arms embargo against Burma. Burma’s people are demanding political and economic freedom and the international community must stand by them,” the statement said.
The statement also called for an emergency meeting at the UN to discuss a possible arms embargo against Burma.