[JURIST] The UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) [official website] Wednesday criticized the government of Myanmar [A/HRC/8/L.12 text, PDF] for its continued human rights abuses and refusal to cooperate with humanitarian groups. The resolution calls on the Myanmar government to free political prisoners, stop recruiting child soldiers and to implement earlier UNHRC resolutions [S-5/1 text, PDF] regarding the country's human rights situation. The Council adopted the measure without a vote and requested a
full, transparent and effective, impartial and independent investigation into all reports of human rights violations, including enforced disappearances, arbitrary detentions, torture and ill-treatment, forced labour and forced displacement and for bringing those responsible to justice.Resolution supporters said that even the recent Myanmar constitutional referendum [JURIST news archive] was not free or fair and that the country maintains poor human rights standards, but critics responded that Myanmar has worked toward improving its human rights situation and that the resolution was unnecessary. The Myanmar representative to the UN rejected the resolution [text, PDF], saying that its conclusions are incorrect and that more powerful countries were using the charges of human rights abuses to politically pressure the Myanmar government. MaximsNews has more. AHN has additional coverage.
The UNHRC passed a similar resolution [press release; JURIST report] in March condemning the Myanmar government for continuous abuses of human rights and fundamental freedoms. The European Union expressed particular concern over human rights violations in the country and the lack of investigations into widespread arrests during last year's pro-democracy demonstrations [JURIST report]. Recently, other international observers and rights activists have expressed doubt about the legitimacy of the constitutional referendum and criticized [JURIST report] the junta for holding the vote immediately after a devastating cyclone hit the country, leaving nearly 130,000 people dead or missing.