Friday, May 8, 2009

British MPs urge UN to invoke R2P in Burma

by Mungpi

New Delhi (Mizzima)- Over 60 British Members of Parliament have called on the United Nations to form a commission of inquiry into crimes against humanity committed by Burma’s ruling junta and to invoke the principle of Responsibility to Protect (R2P) in relation to the crisis in Burma.

The MPs including the Former Foreign Office Ministers, Ian McCartney and Keith Vaz have signed an Early Day Motion (EDM), which was tabled by MP John Bercow, Co-Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group for Democracy in Burma, expressing concern at the deteriorating human rights situation in Burma.

The MPs, in the EDM, urged the UN to invoke the principle of Responsibility to Protect (R2P) in relation to the Burmese junta’s appalling human rights records particularly a military campaign against its ethnic nationalities.

The EMD “urges Her Majesty's Government, along with other governments, to propose the establishment of a commission of inquiry to investigate allegations of crimes against humanity and war crimes in Burma; and urges the UN to invoke the principle of Responsibility to Protect in relation to the crisis in Burma.”

Rights groups and activists accused Burma’s military government of using policies to terrorize its citizens, more severely in remote areas of the country, where ethnic minorities live, in order to maintain its stranglehold on power.

The Christian Solidarity Worldwide, a campaign group that has been lobbying for democratic change in Burma, in a statement on Thursday said the Burmese junta’s policies include the widespread use of rape as a weapon of war, forced labour, the use of human minesweepers, and child soldiers.

The junta’s army has also destroyed over 3,300 villages in eastern Burma since 1996, and launched attacks on civilians resulting in displacement of about a million people, the group said.

John Bercow, who had visited the Thailand-Burma border and the India-Burma border, where Burmese ethnics live in precarious states, said he had heard horrific stories from victims of human rights violations.

“I have sat face to face with victims of unspeakable torture, including women and children who have seen their loved ones murdered. They have looked me in the eye and pleaded for the world to hear their cry,” Bercow said in the statement.

“It is time their cries were answered and the junta's crimes investigated. The people of Burma urgently need the freedom and justice they have been denied for so long," he added.

The Early Day Motions are formal motions submitted for debate in the House of Commons in the British Parliament. While very few EDMs are actually debated, they highlight the extent of parliamentary support for a particular cause or view point.

Alexa Papadouris, CSW's Advocacy Director said their group calls on “the British Government and other Governments to take this call seriously and to initiate a commission of inquiry into the junta's crimes against humanity.”

The concept of R2P was adopted in 2005 World Summit, where governments and world leaders agreed that they have a responsibility to protect when a government is unable or unwilling to protect its civilians from genocide, war crimes, crimes against humanity, and ethnic cleansing.

In implementing R2P, first peaceful measures can be adopted through the use of economic, political, diplomatic, and legal tools but if this fails the International community can use collective force through the UN Security Council under Chapter VII of the UN Charter, only as a last resort.

Recent Posts from Burma Wants Freedom and Democracy

Recent posts from WHO is WHO in Burma


The Nuke Light of Myanmar Fan Box
The Nuke Light of Myanmar on Facebook
Promote your Page too