Burma Human Rights Day: Calls for a Commission of Inquiry

As Burma Human Rights Day on March 13 approaches, PHR welcomes Latvia and Denmark as they join the countries calling for an International Commission of Inquiry to investigate crimes in Burma. PHR has recently documented evidence of crimes against humanity in Chin State, western Burma. Our research uncovered sobering facts: approximately 92% of households surveyed reported at least one incident of forced labor in the previous twelve months. PHR’s report also documents the incidence of other human rights violations, including torture, rape, and killings. These crimes fester in a system of total impunity. PHR has been pressing the United States government to strengthen its support for an investigation into these and other crimes, and we are encouraged by the growing support internationally for this effort. The support of Latvia and Denmark comes at an important time. The Special Rapporteur on the Situation of Human Rights in Myanmar (Burma), Tomás Ojea Quintana, recently issued his progress report to the United Nations Human Rights Council in which he reiterated his recommendation for the establishment of a Commission of Inquiry. Mr. Quintana will present oral remarks on this report to the Human Rights Council on Monday, March 14. While the support of Latvia and Denmark is important, there is more work to be done. PHR urges the US to encourage additional countries to join the movement for justice and accountability in Burma. The US should use its influence at the Human Rights Council in order to build upon the growing momentum for a Commission of Inquiry. Such an investigation will be an essential step to uncovering the truth about crimes in Burma and initiating mechanisms of accountability.

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