Fri 29 Oct 2010
Filed under: Elections,Opinion,Other,United Nations
The following statement has been issued by the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay:Geneva – “On 7 November Myanmar’s electoral process will culminate in voting and counting at polling stations around most of the country. However, conditions for genuine elections that meet international standards have so far not been reached.
The Government should release immediately and unconditionally all political prisoners in order to make this process more inclusive. These are the more than 2,000 persons in Myanmar who, in most cases, have been convicted by laws that limit freedom of expression and freedom of association and assembly and contravene international laws.
In presenting his report to the UN General Assembly last week, the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Myanmar remarked that the freedom of expression and freedom of assembly and association have been further restricted through implementation of the election laws and the directives issued by the Electoral Commission. In the final days before the election, the Government should respect these freedoms.
I would like to impress upon the Government of Myanmar the need to urgently take concrete steps for effective democratic transition to take root in the country.
The UN Secretary-General in his most recent report on the human rights situation in Myanmar to the General Assembly said that Myanmar must make progress in overcoming its twin legacies of political deadlock and armed conflict. Democratic transition in this context will require beyond elections serious national reconciliation efforts that include all stakeholders. Meaningful dialogue for national reconciliation with all sides, particularly those who have been excluded from the electoral process, needs to be undertaken for a successful transition. In addition, measures to address the issues of justice and accountability are also necessary for any transition following so many years of serious human rights violations.
The people of Myanmar are clearly seeking a better future. Genuine elections that meet international standards should be part of the transition process towards that future.”