Out of all we have lost as a nation since Junior and The Dick were selected, moral authority is perhaps the saddest loss of all.
Growing Calls for UN Action
GENEVA, Sep 27 (IPS) - Several countries on the United Nations Human Rights Council have begun making consultations to propose a special session to study the brutal crackdown this week by the military regime in Burma/Myanmar on young Buddhist monks and other demonstrators.The British delegation has begun to sound out the remaining 47 members of the Council to seek support for a request for a special session. Under the Council’s rules, 16 delegations must co-sponsor such requests.
Speakers in the Council expressed concern Thursday over the security forces’ attacks on protesters this week, and appealed to the authorities in Myanmar (as the military junta calls Burma) to ‘’exercise utmost restraint in handling demonstrations’’ while reminding them of their responsibility under international law for the safety of all peaceful demonstrators.
Anti-riot police clamped down on the mass protests in Burma Wednesday and Thursday, leaving at least 14 people dead, dozens injured and hundreds under arrest.
Before the Council’s sixth three-week session comes to an end Friday, it should reach a decision on the possibility of calling a special debate.
As occurs whenever the Council discusses the chronic military repression in Burma, the Western countries on the highest U.N. human rights body expressed themselves in harsh terms against the regime’s policies.
Asian countries, on the other hand, especially those closest to Burma, reacted more cautiously, and there is speculation in diplomatic circles that they will object to the idea of a special session.
Civil society groups, however, are staunchly in favour of firm action.
Speaking in the name of the European Union, Eva Tomic of Slovenia said the ‘’security forces started using force in breaking up the peaceful demonstrations led by Buddhist monks and massively supported by Burmese people,’’ and added that ‘’violence should not be used against people who are committed to non-violence.’’
‘’Norway condemns the gross and systematic violations of human rights in Myanmar,‘’ said Norwegian delegate Wegger Strommen, who argued that ‘’the monks, religious leaders, student leaders and activists should not be seen as a threat to national stability.’’
U.S. Ambassador Warren W. Tichenor, meanwhile, said the United States is calling ‘’for strong action by this Council to underscore -- clearly and unequivocally -- that Burma must fulfil its human rights obligations to allow peaceful protest and grant citizens their freedom. We stand in common cause with them.’’
Ambassador Swashpawan Singh of India did not condemn the regime in Rangoon, although he did express concern and announced that the government of India was ‘’closely monitoring the situation there.’’
‘’It is our hope that all sides will resolve their issues peacefully through dialogue. Myanmar's process of national reconciliation initiated by the authorities should be expedited,’’ he added.
The Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue, a Swiss-based conflict-resolution organisation, struck a similar tone, saying ‘’No one side can resolve Myanmar's problems alone.’’
Leon de Riedmatten, the HD Centre’s representative for Burma, said ‘’It is important at this time of crisis that we remember the serious issues that still need to be resolved so the country can move forward.’’
‘’The issues referred to include the political impasse, ethnic conflict, economic failure and humanitarian decline,’’ he said.
The HD Centre announced that it would ‘’remain on the front line of conflict resolution initiatives’’ despite ‘’the current negative trends’’ and the March 2006 closure of the group’s office in Rangoon, which had been opened in August 2000.
The International Federation of Human Rights Leagues (FIDH) urgently called for a special Human Rights Council session to debate the situation and to certify the Burmese authorities’ failure to implement the recommendations set forth by the special rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Myanmar, Paulo Sergio Pinheiro of Brazil.
The Paris-based FIDH said several sources reported that the Burmese military authorities had transferred opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi from her home, where she was under house arrest, to the Insein Prison in Rangoon.
The human rights federation urged U.N. members ‘’ to adopt effective sanctions against the Burmese regime, including an arms embargo as well as a ban on foreign investment in Burma’s key natural resource industries,’’ such as oil, gas and timber.
Lukas Macon of the International Commission of Jurists said the Human Rights Council should condemn the Burmese government for its ‘’continuing violations of human rights, including suppression of freedom of expression and assembly, forced labour, and intrusions into the rights of ethnic minorities.’’
The Geneva-based Press Emblem Campaign (PEC), which is seeking the creation of an international emblem to identify -- and protect -- media workers, "condemned in the strongest possible manner the crackdown on civilians in Myanmar, the killing of a Japanese cameraman, and the expulsion of two other journalists,’’ while calling on the Human Rights Council to hold a special session.
Blaise Lempen, the secretary general of PEC, told IPS that the Human Rights Council should include in its discussion the inability of journalists to work in Burma and the death of the Japanese media worker. (END/2007)
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The Nazis, Fascists and Communists were political parties before they became enemies of liberty and mass murderers.