12 September 2011
The labor group Partido ng Manggagawa (Labor Party-Philippines) today called on foreign affairs officials to support the international campaign for the creation of a United Nation’s body which can inquire into allegations that Burma’s ruling junta is involved in crimes against humanity.
Burma, officially the Republic of the Union of Myanmar, is ruled by a military junta since 1962. A constitutional reform initiated by the Junta in 2008 led to the holding of elections in 2010. After the November 2010 elections, the junta-backed Union Solidarity and Development Party won 80% of the votes. But opposition groups disputed the results and have accused the junta of involvement in massive election fraud.
In a picket held at the Department of Foreign Affairs in Pasay City, PM urged the DFA officials to convince President Benigno Aquino III to support the establishment of the UN-led Commission of Inquiry with a specific mission to probe international crimes in Burma which reportedly include sexual violence, the recruitment and use of child soldiers, forced labor, arbitrary arrest and detention, torture, extrajudicial killings and disappearances.
“Governments as well as democratic social movements have the duty to defend the human rights of people who are under systematic state repression, especially when they are your own neighbors,” said PM secretary-general Judy Ann Miranda.
The labor group said should the Philippine government firms up its position on this issue, it should make sure that it joins the campaign inside the UN General Assembly which is scheduled to convene its 66th session tomorrow, September 13.
The Philippine-based Free Burma Coalition (FBC) had also asked the Philippine government to use its influence inside the ASEAN and apply more pressure to the Burmese junta for genuine democratic reforms including immediate cessation of hostilities and all forms of human rights abuses in Burma.