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Stop the Political Crisis in Burma
by Rohingya Human Rights
2008-01-04 10:10:43
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Appeal to UN Security Council to Take Strong Action to Stop the Political Crisis in Burma

Date: Monday 31, December 2007

Dear Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and Members of the United Nations,

Happy New Year to all of you! We are writing to urge the United Nations to take immediate and strong action to stop the political crisis, ethnic cleansing and flagrant human rights violations taking place in Karan State, Shan State and Arakan State of Burma. Already, 3 million are internally displaced, and refugees number over more than 4 million. At least one million has been massacred, and the killings are ongoing. Political and the humanitarian crisis promise to worsen on an appalling scale: international political groups predict that up to one million people may die if decisive action is not taken immediately.

As Members of the Council negotiate the text of a resolution addressing this crisis, we ask that the resolution be strong enough to maintain pressure on the Burma's regime so that it upholds its responsibility to protect its people, and that sufficient resources are committed to monitor its progress. At the same time, the Security Council must prepare for the possibility of more coercive measures in the event that regime remains unable or unwilling to act.

The Burma's regime, as a sovereign state, has a responsibility to protect its citizens. It has flagrantly disregarded its responsibility to its people. In this situation, the responsibility to protect must be borne by the international community. To date, the international community has failed its responsibilities. This is particularly true for the Security Council, which is invested with primary responsibility for the maintenance of international peace and security. Although the Council has issued statements condemning the atrocities, it has not demanded that the Burma's regime stop the campaign of ethnic cleansing.

We call for the Security Council, acting under its Chapter VII authority to do the following:

• Condemn in the strongest terms the atrocities of the government and the ethnic Karans, Rohingyas and Shans.

• Call upon the Burma's regime and all parties to the conflict to immediately end the campaign of ethnic cleansing.

• Insist on unhindered access of humanitarian aid groups and their supplies to the victims, and ensure that aid reaches the intended recipients.

• Establish a timeframe for compliance with these demands.

• Decide that states shall, in the event that the above demands are not met, impose targeted diplomatic, economic and political measures. This could include, inter alia, the following measures: freezing of assets, suspension of organization membership, diplomatic isolation, trade and financial sanctions, withdrawal of investments and arms embargos. Such measures must be targeted to decrease the impact on civilians and increase the impact on decision-makers.

• Express in the strongest terms readiness to impose further measures, in accordance with the responsibility of the Security Council under the Charter of the United Nations, including military intervention as a last resort if the atrocities do not stop.
If the situation continues to deteriorate despite the adoption and full implementation of these measures, the Security Council must consider military intervention as a last resort. If aerial bombing of the civilian population continues, the Security Council must establish and enforce no-fly zones, with proper exception made for flights in support of humanitarian operations.
We call upon the Secretary-General to:

• Authorize a team to investigate all violations of international law, for possible future prosecution by national or international courts, including the International Criminal Court.

• Appoint immediately a Special Advisor on the Prevention of Genocide and the Special Advisor must have full power to investigate, report and make further recommendations to the Security Council.
If the Security Council fails to act, we further call upon the General Assembly to:

• Call an Emergency Special Session under the "Uniting for Peace" procedure to decide on appropriate action.

We are also mindful that violence against civilians continues in Rangoon as well, including in the western and eastern regions of Burma. These attacks against civilians must not be tolerated. When a state fails to uphold its responsibility to protect its citizens, the international community has a responsibility to react to establish and enforce peace. This responsibility includes as a last resort the deployment of peace operations to protect the people of Burma.

Crimes against humanity, war crimes and genocide are an abomination on the human race. Prevention and early reaction not only save the lives of innocent civilians, but also save vast resources otherwise spent in the aftermath of conflict. Sovereign states bear the primary responsibility to prevent and halt these despicable acts. But when the state in question refuses to do so, the Security Council must accept its responsibility to maintain peace and security and prevent such atrocities. These are the norms necessary to bring about peace and stability in the 21st century.


Zaw Win
General Director
Arakan National Organization for Human Rights and Justice (ANOHRJ)
Arakan State
Union of Burma

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