Burma

The United Nations, human rights organizations, and activists around the world continue to pressure Burma to cease ongoing human rights violations, particularly the arrest and detention of video journalists. On August 31 the ASEAN Inter-Parliamentary Myanmar Caucus issued a press release noting that Tomás Ojea Quintana, UN Special Rapporteur on the Situation of Human Rights in Myanmar, released a statement after his most recent visit to the country, expressing “serious concern for ongoing human rights abuses in the country, including the continued incarceration and ill-treatment of prisoners of conscience, attacks against civilians in border areas, and a host of violations of economic, social and cultural rights.”

In response to a call from the Democratic Voice of Burma, on September 9 human rights organizations joined Reporters without Borders in demonstrations outside Burmese embassies in Bangkok, Paris, Geneva and London, in support of the Free Burma VJ (Free Burma’s Video Journalists) campaign. “Around 20 journalists and bloggers have been arrested since the 2007 Saffron Revolution,” Reporters Without Borders wrote. “Hla Hla Win is serving a 27-year jail sentence because she wanted to tell the world what was happening in Burma. There are many other Burmese journalists who, like her, have paid a high price for exercising their right to report the news.”

On September 12 the Burma Partnership wrote that the Burmese government’s creation of a national human rights commission was “nothing more than window dressing.” UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said in his report to the 66th General Assembly on the situation of human rights in Burma, “the detention of all remaining political prisoners will continue to overshadow and undermine any confidence in the Government’s efforts.”

Libya

Responding to a September 13 report by Amnesty International, the National Transitional Council in Libya promised to investigate all instances of human rights abuse cited in the report, and renewed its pledge to adhere to international humanitarian law. The Amnesty report said that while Gaddafi loyalists committed crimes that may amount to crimes against humanity, the anti-Gaddafi rebels committed violent acts of reprisal that could amount to war crimes. In a statement on September 13, Claudio Cordone of Amnesty International called on the NTC to ensure “a complete break with the abuses of the past four decades, and to set new standards by putting human rights at the centre of their agenda.”

That same day, the NTC issued a statement condemning all abuses committed during the war, and said it “will move quickly to act on Amnesty’s findings to make sure similar abuses are avoided in areas of continued conflict such as Bani Walid and Sirte.” The NTC also stated that it would now be “putting its efforts to bring any armed groups under official authorities and will fully investigate any incidents brought to its attention.”

Photos (from top): beyonddistantborders.wordpress.com, independent.co.uk, worldbulletin.net

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