Burma Representative’s Confirmation Hearing Only an Initial Step

On Wednesday morning, the Senate Foreign Relations Committeeheld a hearing for Derek Mitchell’s nomination to be the US SpecialRepresentative and Policy Coordinator for Burma, an ambassadorial level postunfilled since its creation in the 2008 Tom Lantos Block Burmese JADE Act.

Inhis testimony, Mitchell stated that his

“objective will be to implement US lawfaithfully and coordinate efforts to advance the common internationalobjectives of bringing about in Burma the unconditional release of allpolitical prisoners, respect for human rights, an inclusive dialogue betweenthe regime and the political opposition, including Aung San Suu Kyi, and ethnicgroups that would lead to national reconciliation, and Burma’s adherence to itsinternational obligations, including all UN Security Council resolutions onnonproliferation.”

PHR applauds the nomination of Mr. Mitchell tothis post, which had remained empty for far too long. However, PHR is concernedthat there was scant mention at Wednesday’s hearing of the military regime’scontinued criminality, Burma’s rampant impunity for regime leaders, or theimportant need to establish rule of law in the country.

If Mr. Mitchell isconfirmed, PHR urges that he use this new position to press for the creationof an international commission of inquiry to investigate the continuing andegregious human rights abuses perpetrated by the Burmese military junta againstits own people. Only when the truth has been brought to light can the countrytruly change.

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