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EU Welcomes UN Resolution On Myanmar’s Human Rights Situation

                             Kutupalong Cox ‘s Bazar, Unofficial Rohingya refugee camp 

European Union Foreign Policy chief Catherine Ashton on Tuesday welcomed the 2012 U.N. General Assembly (UNGA) resolution on the human rights situation in Myanmar, noting that the move reflected the international community’s commitment to the recently implemented reforms in the South Asian nation.

“I am very pleased with the U.N. General Assembly’s Third Committee adoption by consensus of the resolution on the situation of human rights in Myanmar on 26 November, 2012,” Ashton said in a statement.

She noted that the resolution welcomed the substantial efforts by Myanmar’s government towards political reform, democratization, national reconciliation and improvements in the situation of human rights.

Ashton said the UNGA resolution also recognized the remaining challenges faced by Myanmar, including human rights violations against ethnic minorities and addressing the underlying causes of the recent ethnic violence in the Rakhine state.

“I am particularly pleased by the constructive approach taken by the Government of Myanmar in working closely on the text with the EU, as the main sponsor. I also appreciate the invaluable support of the co-sponsors in achieving this outcome,” Ashton said.

The EU top diplomat stressed that the unprecedented adoption of the resolution by consensus was a clear sign of the international community’s commitment “to supporting the reform process under way and the aspirations of the people of Myanmar for full respect of human rights, economic and social development and lasting peace.”
The development comes at a time when most Western powers, including the United States, have softened their approach toward Myanmar and eased most of their sanctions imposed on the previous military junta which ceded power to a civilian government last year.

Since assuming power in March 2011, the civilian government led by President Thein Sein has made great strides toward democracy, including holding free elections to elect a new Parliament, freeing hundreds of political prisoners and holding talks with ethnic rebel groups present in the countryside.

Thein Sein’s government has also implemented several reforms demanded by the Opposition and the international community, the most notable being the release of Opposition leader and Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi from house-arrest. Suu Kyi has since been allowed to travel freely within the country and abroad.

Suu Kyi also won a Parliament seat in the recent byelections. Her National League for Democracy (NLD) party boycotted the November 2010 polls, but later decided to rejoin mainstream politics and was subsequently allowed to contest the bypolls in which the party secured 40 seats of the 45 seats contested.

Nevertheless, the recent positive developments in Myanmar, previously known as Burma, have been overshadowed to an extent by the recent ethnic violence between Buddhist and Rohingya Muslim communities in the western state of Rakhine.

It is now believed that the communal violence has displaced more than 100,000 people and killed at least 89 in Rakhine state after it first erupted earlier this year. the U.N. estimates that the violence has also left more than 5,300 houses and religious buildings destroyed.
by RTT Staff Writer
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