Media Statement (3) by Lim Kit Siang Siang in Petaling Jaya on Thursday, 21st May 2009:
ASEM FMM 9 should endorse the proposal for an international inquiry of 15 years of human rights abuses in Myanmar like those conducted for atrocities in Darfur, Rwanda and Yugoslavia
The reimposition of restrictions on reporters and diplomats attending the trial of Burmese pro-democracy icon Aung San Suu Kyi a day after opening up the proceedings yesterday betray the true colours of the Myanmar military junta with regard to its utter disregard to universal principles of human rights and the ASEAN Charter.
The Myanmese military junta must not be allowed to get away with its nefarious agenda, which is to keep Suu Kyi in continued incarceration although her six-year illegal detention is to expire in six days time on May 27 and to extend it during next year’s elections.
It is not to ASEAN’s credit that the regional organization has been so mute and helpless to the flagrant violation of human rights in the continued persecution of Suu Kyi, who had already been detained for more than 13 of the past 19 years, as not a single ASEAN head of state or government had said a single word at the first crisis faced by the ASEAN Charter on the commitment of the individual ASEAN countries to promote and protect human rights.
It is six days to the countdown of expiry of Suu Kyi’s illegal detention on May 27 and all ASEAN governments must put maximum and daily pressure on the Myanmar military junta to release the Nobel Peace Prize Laureatte next Wednesday or face dire consequences.
Five prominent international jurists have proposed that the United Nations Security Council should open an inquiry into 15 years of human rights abuses in Myanmar, like those conducted for atrocities in Darfur, Rwanda and Yugoslavia.
The five jurists, Judge Richard Goldstone of South Africa, Judge Patricia Wald of the United States, Judge Pedro Nikken of Venezuela, Judge Ganzorig Gombosuren of Mongolia and Sir Geoffrey Nice of Britain, have said in a report released by the Harvard Law School that systematic human rights abuses in Myanmar "strongly suggest Burma's military regime may be committing crimes against humanity and war crimes prosecutable under international law".
The jurists wrote that "forced displacement of over 3,000 villages in eastern Burma, and widespread and systematic sexual violence, torture, and summary execution of innocent civilians" justify the establishment of a U.N. commission of inquiry into crimes against humanity and war crimes.
"In the cases of Yugoslavia and Darfur, once aware of the severity of the problem, the U.N. Security Council established a Commission of Inquiry to investigate the gravity of the violations further," said the report.
"With Burma, there has been no such action from the U.N. Security Council despite being similarly aware of the widespread and systematic nature of the violations."
ASEAN, Asian and European Foreign Ministers attending the 9th Asia-Europe Foreign Ministers' Meeting (ASEM FMM 9) in Hanoi next week on May 25 – 26 should endorse the proposal for an international inquiry of 15 years of human rights abuses in Myanmar like those conducted for atrocities in Darfur, Rwanda and Yugoslavia.
*Lim Kit Siang, DAP Parliamentary leader & MP for Ipoh Timor