Report of the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Myanmar

In the present report, the Special Rapporteur describes how the reforms under way in Myanmar continue to create the prospect of significant improvements in the human rights situation. Important developments during the reporting period include the continuing release of prisoners of conscience; improving respect of the right to freedom of opinion and expression; and progress towards agreement on a national ceasefire.

The Special Rapporteur highlights, however, the dangers of glossing over shortcomings in the area of human rights or presuming that these shortcomings will inevitably be addressed through the momentum of current reforms.

He warns that, if these shortcomings are not addressed now, they will become increasingly entrenched in areas such as accountability for human rights violations; the rights of ethnic and religious minorities; the rights to peaceful assembly and association; the representation of women in decision-making positions; land rights; and human rights and development.

Furthermore, they will eventually undermine the reform process itself if they are not addressed in accordance with international human rights standards. He concludes that the challenge, which has been present since the outset of the reform process, is to achieve a transition from the military mindset thatprevails within the Government to a democratic mindset that upholds human rights.

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