The UN will be the next stop on the quest to legally reinstate Burma’s opposition National League for Democracy (NLD) as a political party, following the recent rejection of an appeal against its dissolution.
The party, led by Aung San Suu Kyi, is preparing to take their case to the UN’s Human Rights Council (UNHRC), spokesperson Nyan Win said. He claims the disbanding of the party last year following its refusal to compete in elections was a violation of their rights; moreover, that the Supreme Court’s rejection of their appeal on 28 January contradicted a number of articles in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
“Every citizen has the right to take part in the country’s governance, either directly in person or acting as a representative. Those rights of ours were violated,” he told DVB.
The main points in the appeal, he said, were the violation of freedom of expression epitomised by the dissolution, and the lack of law and order in Burma, which has been under military rule since 1962. The UNHRC was a last resort for the party because of the “[lack of] chances with legal procedure in Burma”.
A meeting held on Monday between Suu Kyi and the party’s legal wing concluded that the case would be filed within two weeks, having first gathered momentum in early October last year.
Since then it has been dismissed by three different courts in Burma, with the latest appeal being brushed aside by the Supreme Court in “a matter of minutes”, NLD lawyer Kyaw Hoe said last week.
The independence of Burma’s judicial system has been repeatedly questioned by observers, with court verdicts in the military-ruled country rarely favouring the opposition.
“It is politically very important that a decision is made as to whether we or the government is right about these legal facts,” Nyan Win said. As such, he added, the party would be making a strong case for its reinstatement.
“If the Human Rights Council decides that our stand is right and that the government’s procedures were wrong, then it will be politically beneficial to us.”
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.