Resolution welcomed the positive developments in Burma and the stated commitment by the Burmese government “to continue on the path".
The United Nations’ Third Committee, which deals with social, humanitarian affairs and human rights issues, recently adopted by consensus a resolution on the situation of human rights in Burma. The United States was one of 41 co-sponsors of the resolution, and the Burmese government joined the international consensus.
The resolution welcomed the positive developments in Burma and the stated commitment by the Burmese government “to continue on the path of political and economic reform, democratization and national reconciliation and the promotion of human rights, recognizing the scale of the reform effort undertaken to date.”
The resolution noted the “increasing space for political activity, assembly, speech and the press” in the country, while it urged the Burmese government “to fulfill its commitment to carry out comprehensive media reform, and to protect the rights to freedom of expression, association and of peaceful assembly, including to allow for a free independent media and to ensure the safety, security and freedom of human rights defenders to pursue their activities.”
The resolution also expressed concern about remaining human rights violations, including arbitrary arrests, land confiscations, sexual violence, and cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment.
In co-sponsoring the resolution, the United States recognizes the progress Burma has made in building the foundations of a sustainable democracy. But great challenges remain, as U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power noted after the resolution was approved.
“We share the General Assembly’s concern,” she said in a statement, “that arbitrary arrests and detentions of Burmese human rights defenders continue. [The resolution] urges the government to address these issues, as well as the violence, displacement and dire economic conditions affecting ethnic and religious minorities, including the Rohingya in the Rakhine State and Muslim minorities throughout the country.”
Ambassador Power said that through such resolutions as the one approved on Burma by the U.N.’s Third Committee, “The international community has once again demonstrated its support for the fundamental freedoms and dignity of individuals around the world, as enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.”