News / Asia

    Rights Groups Back UN Envoy’s Warnings on Burma

    Burmese opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi, right, and United Nations Special Rapporteur for human rights in Burma Tomas Ojea Quintana pose for the media before their meeting at her residence, in Rangoon, February 16, 2013.
    Burmese opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi, right, and United Nations Special Rapporteur for human rights in Burma Tomas Ojea Quintana pose for the media before their meeting at her residence, in Rangoon, February 16, 2013.
    Ron Corben
    Human rights groups and analysts say the international community needs to pay attention to warnings from the United Nations rights envoy about on-going abuses in Burma.

    U.N. rights envoy Tomas Ojea Quintana ended his five-day visit to Burma by acknowledging that while the country is heading in the right direction, urgent action is needed to address on-going human rights abuses.
     
    Quintana met former political prisoners and those still in detention in Insein prison in Rangoon, held talks with senior government members and opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi.
     
    He also visited western Rakhine State where 120,000 people remain displaced after sectarian violence last year between Muslim and Buddhist communities killed scores of people. Quintana said that although conditions in Muslim camps had improved, there is still inadequate health care.
     
    Debbie Stothard, spokesperson for rights group, Alternative ASEAN Network, says Quintana’s preliminary report notes a lack of progress in addressing human rights as well as long standing issues of impunity by the armed forces.
     
    “It’s clear from Mr. Quintana’s visit that critical human rights problem have not yet been addressed in Burma, and that there is still a long way to go," Stothard said. "We hope that his visit is seen as a sobering wakeup call to the rest of the international community who have been far too optimistic about Burma’s reforms.”
     
    Quintana also travelled to Kachin state, the center of recent heavy fighting between Kachin Independence Army (KIA) and Burmese troops. He said he was encouraged by developments with cease-fire talks. But he raised concerns reports that the Burmese military is carrying out arbitrary arrests and torture of Kachin men suspected of being rebel fighters.
     
    He called on Burma’s military and non-state armed groups to comply with international human rights and humanitarian law.
     
    Benjamin Zawacki, a representative in South East Asia for the International Commission of Jurists, said while Quintana’s access to Rakhine and Kachin states was positive, the Burmese government needs to address the broader problems he raised.

    “The fact that he’s been able to get access and from his position as a U.N. representative clearly articulate those is important because what he’s saying essentially runs counter to the prevailing narrative coming out of the country which is that everything is changing and of course changing for the better when in fact the situation in those two ethnic areas is in fact changing, but it’s actually getting worse,” said Zawacki.
     
    Phil Robertson, deputy Asia Director for Human Rights Watch, said the only area of progress in Burma had been access to prisons by the International Red Crescent and Red Cross Societies.  
     
    Robertson says Burmese authorities are pushing to weaken the mandate of the U.N. special reporter on the situation of human rights in Burma. But he says that authorities have not done enough to convince other key U.N. members that it is time to abandon the U.N. envoy’s oversight.
     
    “What is now coming into clear focus is they haven’t done near enough for the international community whether that be the EU [European Union] or North American countries or Japan to consider that kind of step [to ease pressure]," said Robertson.
     
    Next month Quintana is expected to submit his full report on the rights situation in Burma to the United Nations.

    You May Like

    Vietnam Mulls Tough Measures for ‘Misbehaving’ Chinese Tourists

    Move comes after footage surfaced online of Chinese travelers harassing a banana hawker in Da Nang

    Pakistan Social Media Star's Honor Killing Fuels Debate

    Qandeel Baloch's murder puts spotlight on deadly tradition and other mistreatment of women

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Wall Already Runs Along Parts of US-Mexico Borderi
    X
    July 22, 2016 12:30 AM
    The Republican Party’s presidential nominee, Donald Trump, gained the support of many voters by saying he would build a wall to keep undocumented immigrants and drugs from coming across the border from Mexico. Critics have called his idea impractical and offensive to Mexico, while supporters say such a bold approach is needed to control the border. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from the border town of Nogales, Arizona.
    Video

    Video Wall Already Runs Along Parts of US-Mexico Border

    The Republican Party’s presidential nominee, Donald Trump, gained the support of many voters by saying he would build a wall to keep undocumented immigrants and drugs from coming across the border from Mexico. Critics have called his idea impractical and offensive to Mexico, while supporters say such a bold approach is needed to control the border. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from the border town of Nogales, Arizona.
    Video

    Video New HIV Tests Emphasize Rapid Results

    As the global fight against AIDS intensifies, activists have placed increasing importance on getting people to know their HIV status. Some companies are developing new HIV testing methods designed to be quick, easy and accurate. Thuso Khumalo looks at the latest methods, presented at the International AIDS conference in Durban, South Africa.
    Video

    Video African Youth with HIV Urge More Support

    HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, is the top killer of teens in sub-Saharan Africa. But many youths say their experience with the virus is unique and needs to be addressed differently than the adult epidemic. VOA South African Correspondent Anita Powell reports.
    Video

    Video Poor Residents in Cleveland Not Feeling High Hopes of Republican Convention

    With the Republican Party's National Convention underway in Cleveland, Ohio, delegates and visitors are gathered in the host city's downtown - waiting to hear from the party's presidential candidate, Donald Trump. But a few kilometers from the convention's venue, Cleveland's poorest residents are not convinced Trump or his policies will make a difference in their lives. VOA's Ramon Taylor spoke with some of these residents as well as some of the Republican delegates and filed this report.
    Video

    Video Pop-Up Art Comes to Your Living Room, Backyard and Elsewhere

    Around the world, independent artists and musicians wrestle with a common problem: where to exhibit or perform? Traditional spaces such as museums and galleries are reserved for bigger names, and renting a space is not feasible for many. Enter ArtsUp, which connects artists with venue owners. Whether it’s a living room, restaurant, office or even a boat, pop-up events are bringing music and art to unexpected places. Tina Trinh has more.
    Video

    Video With Yosemite as Backdrop, Obama Praises National Parks

    Last month, President Barack Obama and his family visited some of the most beautiful national parks in the U.S. Using the majestic backdrop of a towering waterfall in California's Yosemite National Park, Obama praised the national park system which celebrates its 100th anniversary this year. He talked about the importance of America’s “national treasures” and the need to protect them from climate change and other threats. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
    Video

    Video Counter-Islamic State Coalition Plots Next Steps

    As momentum shifts against Islamic State in Iraq, discussions are taking place about the next steps for driving the terrorist group from its final strongholds. Secretary of State John Kerry is hosting a counter-IS meeting at the State Department, a day after defense ministers from more than 30 countries reviewed and agreed upon a course of action. VOA Pentagon correspondent Carla Babb reports.
    Video

    Video Russia's Participation at Brazil Olympic Games Still In Question

    The International Olympic Committee has delayed a decision on whether to ban all Russian teams from competing in next month's Olympic Games in Brazil over allegations of an elaborate doping scheme. The World Anti-Doping Agency recently released an independent report alleging widespread doping by Russian athletes at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi. So far, only Russian track and field athletes have been barred from the Summer Games in Brazil. VOA's Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Scotland’s Booming Whisky Industry Fears Brexit Hangover

    After Britain’s vote to leave the European Union, Scotland’s government wants to break away from the United Kingdom – fearing the nation’s exports are at risk. Among the biggest of these is whisky. Henry Ridgwell reports on a time of turmoil for those involved in the ancient art of distilling Scotland’s most famous product.
    Video

    Video Millennials Could Determine Who Wins Race to White House

    With only four months to go until Americans elect a new president, one group of voters is getting a lot more attention these days: those ages 18 to 35, a generation known as millennials. It’s a demographic that some analysts say could have the power to decide the 2016 election. But a lot depends on whether they actually turn out to vote. VOA’s Alexa Lamanna reports.
    Video

    Video Number of Syrian Refugees Arriving in US Jumps

    The United States is committed to resettling 85,000 refugees from around the world by October. Of that number, 10,000 will come from Syria and already some 4,000 Syrian refugees have arrived in the United States, many of them settling in the state of Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports from Chicago, their arrival is not the end of a difficult journey to find peace and stability.
    Video

    Video Rio’s Trams Await Olympic Tourists

    Over the past century, many cities around the world replaced electric trams, prone to breakdowns and backups, with faster and more spacious buses. But for some reason restored antique trams are a huge tourist attraction. So it’s no wonder the authorities in Rio de Janeiro are busy restoring their city’s old tram line ahead of the Summer Olympic Games. VOA’ George Putic reports.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora