The Burmese junta and its allies in North Korea have reacted strongly to recommendations by a senior UN envoy that they be investigated for crimes against humanity and human rights abuses.
The recommendation was made last week by the UN’s special rapporteur to Burma, Tomas Ojea Quintana, and followed intensifying calls for greater UN action on the Southeast Asian pariah state.
But Burma’s ambassador to the UN, Wunna Maung Lwin, criticised Quintana for “[violating] the right of a sovereign state”.
“We strongly condemn and reject these recommendations and the report as a whole” he told the UN Human Rights Council, according to AFP.
Quintana’s 30-page report, which was submitted on 10 March, stated that some actions of the ruling junta “may entail categories of crimes against humanity or war crimes under the terms of the Statute of the International Criminal Court”.
It described human rights abuses as “gross and systematic”, which emanated from “a state policy that involves authorities in the executive, military and judiciary at all levels”.
Maung Lwin meanwhile also alleged that Quintana’s report included “unfounded allegations” from “unverifiable sources”, and that the report had referred to issues which fell outside of Quintana’s mandate.
He further noted that “the deliberate intention of putting allegations in the report is to draw his own conclusion and thereby recommending” an inquiry.
“Never in the history of the Human Rights Council had such line of action been warranted on the situation of human rights in the particular country. This will set a dangerous precedent for all the developing countries.”
The European Karen Network however echoed Quintana’s findings and cited the Burmese army’s ongoing human rights violations in the country’s eastern Karen state.
“For six decades Karen people have been one of the ethnic groups who have been directly targeted by the Burmese Army, committing war crimes and crimes against humanity against us,” said Nant Bwa Bwa Phan, a board member of the group.
“The Human Rights Council must now follow the recommendations of their own Special Rapporteur and establish a Commission of Inquiry.”