NLD prepares for UN council appeal

Burma’s main opposition force is preparing to file an appeal to UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) in Geneva this week regarding the future of its existence.

The National League for Democracy (NLD), which won the 1990 elections but was denied power by the ruling junta, was legally dissolved following its decision to boycott last November’s polls.

The party, led by Aung San Suu Kyi, has consistently stated that the dissolution was a violation of its rights; moreover, that the Supreme Court’s rejection of an appeal on 28 January contradicted a number of articles in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. That claim then prompted the NLD to seek a higher authority.

Lawyer and NLD spokesperson Nyan Win said yesterday that the Burmese government’s two-decade campaign to sideline the party was a violation of international law.

The appeal has gone through three courts in Burma’s multi-tiered legal system, where judges have often been accused of being under the thumb of the government. Verdicts rarely favour the political opposition, and all appeals have been thrown out.

Shortly after a decision was reached in February to take the appeal to the UNHRC, Nyan Win told DVB that the main points it covered were violations of freedom of expression epitomised by the dissolution, and the lack of law and order in Burma, which until last November had been under military rule since 1962.

The UNHRC was, he said, a last resort for the party because of the “[lack of] chances with legal procedure in Burma”.

But controversy has dogged the UNHRC since its inception in 2006 – critics claim it is dominated by countries such as China, Russia and Islamic states who prioritise each others’ interests, while UN chief Ban Ki-moon has in the past criticised what he calls a politicisation of decisions made in the 47-member Council.

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