EU demurs on new UN human rights resolution for Myanmar


YANGON — For the first time in 25 years, the European Union has decided not to table a human rights resolution directed at Myanmar in the United Nations General Assembly, saying the government had taken “bold steps” to improve the country’s human rights record.

EU High Representative Ms Federica Mogherini cited the release of political prisoners, the government’s commitment to the peace process and the appointment of its Advisory Commission on Rakhine State as reasons for the EU’s decision, adding that Daw Aung San Suu Kyi’s de facto leadership of the country was “powerful testimony to the incredible change Myanmar is going through.”

“The road towards a diverse and inclusive democracy is never easy,” Mogherini said Friday. “But I am convinced it’s a challenge that we can face together, and we can win together.”

Anticipating Friday’s announcement, several rights groups condemned the EU’s position, accusing it in a September 19 joint statement of “putting trade and geopolitical interests” ahead of human rights considerations.

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“It makes no sense for the European Union to discontinue the UNGA resolution on Burma when 94 percent of the demands made in the last resolution have not been met,” said the European Burma Network.

Aung San Suu Kyi spoke at the UN General Assembly on September 21, her first appearance at the body since her National League for Democracy swept last November’s general election.

Discussing tensions in Rakhine State, where some 140,000 mostly Rohingya people remain in camps after communal violence in 2012, she issued a plea for “the understanding and constructive contribution” of the international community while her government worked to broker a solution to the stalemate.

With AFP in New York.

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