Friday 30 December 2011
Calling lawyers to take action for human rights: simple actions, great impact
The Justice for Burma Campaign, launched by the IBAHRI in July 2011, aimed to galvanise support among the legal profession for the establishment of a UN Commission of Inquiry (COI) into international crimes in Burma, following the recommendation of the UN Special Rapporteur on Myanmar (Burma).
The Campaign received significant support from IBA Members and Bar Associations throughout 2011. Member organisations and lawyers engaged with the campaign to address the inclusion of a provision for the establishment of a COI in the UN Resolution on Burma, drafted by EU Member States in October 2011.
In recent months the Burmese Government has taken some positive steps forward in the promotion of human rights, such as, the permitting of the UN Special Rapporteur into the country for the first time since 2010; Daw Aung San Suu Kyi was invited to meet with President Thein Sein; the controversial 3.6 billion USD hydropower Myistone Dam project has been suspended; and 200 political prisoners were freed. Also, significantly, a national human rights commission, comprised of 15 retired bureaucrats and academics, was established.
Recent encouraging actions by the Burmese Government have been widely welcomed by the international community and the European Union, which has decided not to include a provision for the establishment of a COI into the Resolution.
The IBAHRI is confident that international campaigning for the establishment of a COI played a key role in the Burmese Government’s decision to establish a national human rights commission, which was declared on 6 September 2011, the same day that EU diplomats met to discuss the inclusion of a provision for a COI and that the IBAHRI held its briefing meeting in Brussels
We would like to thank all IBA Members and Bar Associations for their significant part played in the worldwide campaign. However, human rights abuses and atrocities in Burma continue to be reported; the IBAHRI continues to monitor the situation and will follow up on the campaign in 2012.