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The following statement was made on 9 April 1997, following
the oral statement of the Special Rapporteur on Myanmar to the
Commission on Human Rights. The Special Rapporteur's report,
E/CN.4/1997/64, was posted on this conference on 22 March
                    DELEGATION UNDER ITEM 10
Mr Chairman,
     I would like to respond to the report contained in
document No E/CN.4/1997/64 just tabled, claiming to show the
situation of human rights in the Union of Myanmar.
     Limitation of time constrains me from elaborating on each
allegation in detail. For this reason, my delegation has
undertaken to circulate, for the official records of this
Commission documents Nos. E/CN.4/1997/123 and E/CN.4/1997/124
in response to Mr. Lallah's report and an earlier one
mentioned therein; to highlight the inaccuracies contained in
them, and also to present the situation of human rights in
Myanmar in its true perspective.
     But even a superficial glance at Mr Lallah's reports
reveal that they are essentially political statements, in the
guise of legal arguments, intended to exert unwarranted
pressure to influence the outcome of events that must
necessarily be decided by the inhabitants of my country and
not by outsiders.
Mr Chairman,
     The report just tabled contains numerous cases of wide
ranging allegations. But on closer scrutiny, it can be seen
that such allegations are carefully qualified with phrases
such as "it was reported", "according to reports", "reportedly
arrested" "allegedly arrested, etc.  It would naturally follow
that flawed conclusions would result from such conclusions.
     The reports go on to less than credible lengths to stress
any perceived negative elements, while turning a blind eye to
all constructive and positive achievements. This is what
numerous delegations have attested to in the proceedings of
this very Commission when they reject the practice of
unbalanced reporting.
     When this practise of one sided presentations about my
country was pointed out, the response was that the inclusion
of more positive developments would render such reports too
lengthy and unwieldy. The consequence, Mr Chairman, is that
accuracy, objectivity and balance falls victim to expediency,
lack of resources and time constraints.
Mr Chairman, 
     To be more precise, I shall touch on but a few of the
allegations and accusations made in the reports and their
     The charge of non-cooperation has been made against my
country. But the record has clearly shown that while we have
not accepted the appointment of any special rapporteur for
reasons repeatedly made known by my delegation in this
Commission, we have consistently cooperated and will continue
to cooperate with the UN and its representatives in dealing
with issues of human rights and other matters of common
     In the recent past, high officials of my Government have
had numerous rounds of fruitful dialogue with the Secretary
General and his representatives, and the most recent round
with Mr Francesc Vendrell, Director of the East Asia and
Pacific Division of the UN, who visited my country just a few
weeks ago -- all of which are elaborated in our memoranda
presented to this Commission.
     In fact, we have when requested, provided the Centre for
Human Rights and the thematic rapporteurs, including Mr.
Lallah with information relevant to my country and the
thematic rapporteurs have undertaken to incorporate our
responses in their reports. Such exercises will continue to be
pursued in the future and Mr. Lallah will have the opportunity
to visit Myanmar at a mutually convenient time.
Mr Chairman,
     In his reports, and especially in an earlier one, Mr.
Lallah had emphasised primarily on the operation of the legal
system in my country and has attempted to reveal aspects,
which in his view, amount to shortcomings. We find it to be
father perplexing that the report should attempt to cast doubt
on the validity and effectiveness of our judicial system.
Courts of law, civil, criminal and military are functioning
normally throughout the country.
     From the time of its inception, the State Law and Order
Restoration Council has undertaken to ensure that the laws of
the land be upheld to preserve and strengthen the rule of law,
and to maintain public order. The current administration has
inherited over 900 laws, including those enacted during the
time of the former colonial rulers, and by successive
Governments after the achievement of independence.
Accordingly, Myanmar continues to have a sound, efficient and
fair judicial system, with the rule of law prevailing in the
land, and peace and stability being maintained in accordance
with the provisions of existing laws.
     At present, the Supreme Court and lower courts of law at
State, Division and Township levels exist to administer
justice independently according to law; to protect and
safeguard the interests of the people and to assist in the
maintenance of law and order; to educate the people to
understand and abide by the law; to work within the framework
of the law for the settlement of cases; to dispense justice in
open courts unless otherwise prohibited by law; to guarantee
in all cases the right of defense and the right to appeal
under law; and to aim at reforming moral character in meting
out punishment to offenders.
     The Code of Criminal Procedure and other relevant laws
provide a comprehensive legal framework and guarantees to
ensure that a fair trial is given to every defendant in a
court of law. There are also safeguards against the abuses of
legal proceedings during trial.
     The conduct of trials and administration of justice are
carried out in public courts in strict observance of the basic
principles just mentioned. The independence of the Judiciary
is strictly maintained, and there exist no control or
influence exercised by the Government over the administration
of justice by the Judiciary.
Mr Chairman,
     Another aspect that the reports elaborate upon is the
constitutional process transpiring in my country during the
current stage of transition. Questions have been raised as to
whether this constitutional process will indeed lead to the
establishment of multi-part democracy. In response to such
doubts, I would like to reiterate that the National Convention
is being convened to take concrete and systematic steps to
build a genuine multi-party democratic steps to build a
genuine multi-party democratic state in accordance with the
aspirations of the people of Myanmar. This Convention is a
truly representative body encompassing representatives from
various political parties legally existing in the country,
representatives of national racial groups, the peasants, the
workers, the intelligentsia, the technocrats, and legal
experts among others who enjoy the right to freely exchange
their views. As such there should exist no doubt as to
meaningful representation and democratic procedures in the
     Consensus has already been achieved in the National
Convention on issues of primary importance such as over a
hundred fundamental principles which will form the basis of
the new State Constitution, in addition to agreements reached
on the State, its basic structure, the Head of State, and the
delineation of the Legislative, Executive and Judiciary
     In essence, the National Convention has reached its
halfway point and future sessions will be devoted to achieve
consensus on issues such as the fundamental rights and
responsibilities of citizens, the holding of regular
elections, and the role of political parties, among others.
     Hence, when calls for dialogue are made, our response is
that dialogue is already in progress in the form of the
National Convention, which for reasons just mentioned is the
most appropriate forum for dialogue and consensus building. On
the other hand, there can be no necessity for any dialogue
between the Government and one single political party, at the
expense of all other legally existing political parties and
the over 100 national races who constitute the Union of
Mr Chairman,
     To sum up, we hold the view that the reports in question
constitute an attempt to dispense with reality and to exert
political pressure on the Government. This exercise is bound
to be counter-productive for the promotion and protection of
human rights in my country.  I shall accordingly reject these
reports and their contents as being irrelevant and merely
reflecting the views of those who are opposing the Government
for reasons unconnected with the issue of human rights.
     To us, the issue of human rights encompasses much more
than legal arguments, political manipulations and results of
interviews with groups openly hostile to the good intentions
of the Government. For us human rights encompasses issues
neglected in the reports, issues such as the right to develop,
relying essentially on our own strength and resources, and to
live a life of dignity with adequate food, clothing and
shelter for all.  None of these aspects of the right to
development, absolutely none, have received even superficial
mention in the reports. Nevertheless, we shall continue to
endeavour toward the attainment of such objectives while at
the same time persevere to protect our independence and
Mr Chairman,
Commenting on his recent trip to the region, Mr. Lallah
mentioned in his report that the situation in Myanmar is so
complex and susceptible to so many different interpretations.
After reporting thus, I find it most regrettable that the
document should draw simple and misguided conclusions out of a
complex situation.