Baja Asked to Include Burma in UN Security Council Agenda

The Initiatives for International Dialogue (IID), a Philippine-based NGO advocating genuine democracy and restoration of peace and justice in Burma today asked Ambassador Lauro L. Baja Jr., Philippine Permanent Representative to the United Nations, to include Burma in the council’s agenda for the month of June. IID Executive Director Augusto Miclat said, “The presidency of the most powerful organ of the UN is an influential position. This is the reason why Burma observers here in the Philippines are pressing Ambassador Baja and other Philippine officials to include Burma in its priority agenda.”

The Initiatives for International Dialogue (IID), a Philippine-based NGO advocating genuine democracy and restoration of peace and justice in Burma today asked Ambassador Lauro L. Baja Jr., Philippine Permanent Representative to the United Nations, to include Burma in the council’s agenda for the month of June.

The Philippines assumed presidency this month of the powerful United Nations Security Council (UNSC) as a non-permanent council member. Baja, the former DFA Undersecretary for Policy, will steer the council sessions for a month as the top Philippine diplomat in the United Nations.

IID Executive Director Augusto Miclat said, “The presidency of the most powerful organ of the UN is an influential position. This is the reason why Burma observers here in the Philippines are pressing Ambassador Baja and other Philippine officials to include Burma in its priority agenda.”

“Part of the functions and powers of the UNSC is to maintain international peace and security in accordance with the principles and purposes of the United Nations. Its components include prevention of impunity by violators of human rights and international humanitarian law; and protection of civilians, their rights and freedoms. With this basis, we can say that the ruling military junta in Burma, whose track record shows it to be a certified human rights violator, merits the attention of UNSC,” Miclat added.

IID said that for more than four decades now, the State Peace and Order Council or SPDC as the Burmese military junta is called, failed to address genuine political and economic reforms in Burma. It added that forced labor, gross violations of women rights, and crackdown on political activists and human rights advocates are still common scenes in Burma.

“The Burmese economy is down. The promised political reforms and genuine reconciliation with major opposition party and ethnic groups have not yet been granted. There is little respect for basic human rights. These are enough grounds that should be considered by the UNSC to call for the democratization of Burma and include this country in its programme of work,” Miclat explained.

IID is also campaigning for a tripartite dialogue in Burma where the junta, the ethnic parties and the major opposition party would be allowed equal representations and powers. It also reiterated its position against the Constitutional Convention in Burma started last month, which it labeled “unrepresentative and undemocratic.”

“The junta is trying to deodorize its failed governance by praising the national convention as a democratic exercise. But as long as the generals are not serious in recognizing substantial democratic reforms in government, no amount of charter talks can make the Burmese junta acceptable to the international community,” Miclat concluded.

Aside from Burma, IID is also asking the UNSC to start deliberations for a war crimes tribunal for East Timor as a way of delivering justice for an estimated 200,000 Timorese victims from 1975 to 1999 and to stop military impunity in Indonesia.

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