Monday, 18 November 2019

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Constitution entrenches junta’s culture of impunity: Report

New Delhi (Mizzima) – The international community should not support the Burmese military junta’s 2010 elections because it will entrench military rule and a culture of impunity, the International Centre for Transitional Justice said in a new report.

The ICTJ, in its report titled “Impunity Prolonged”, said the junta over the past two decades has been deliberately into human rights violations as a tool to suppress its people and all oppositions and has designed a constitution that will sanction impunity for their actions.

Amidst numerous other violations documented by various human rights organizations, the report mainly identified sexual violation, forced labour and use and recruitment of child soldiers, as Burma has ratified to international conventions on the three categories.

Members of the Burmese military “armed with guns and the knowledge that they are not likely to be held accountable for their abuses, often resort to inhumane behaviour,” the report said.  

Rape is tolerated and is seen not as a crime but rather as a necessary strategy to punish individuals, families, and communities that may oppose the government, the report said.

“This illusion validates and encourages more violations,” the report added.

It furthers that Burmese civilians are often snatched from their homes and forced to provide free labour to support the junta’s endeavours against opposition forces. And with the high rates of attrition in the armed forces, the expanding size of the army, the numbers of volunteers decreasing, and deserters increasing, recruiters have turned to children to meet their quota.

“While all of these activities are illegal under Burmese and international law, they persist because of the country’s culture of impunity,” said the report adding that the culture of impunity is the essence of the junta’s new constitution.

The junta’s 2008 constitution gives amnesty to the ruling regime for any crimes they have committed it also allows the military to dominate the government and to protect their interest.

Besides, the constitution reserves 25 per cent of seats for the military in Parliament and also allows the military to override the Parliament and declare a state of emergency anytime it deems right, in the name of national security.

“The Burmese continue to be forced to live with mass violations, impunity that encourages more crime, a constitution that entrenches the military’s power and a blanket of terror over political opposition,” the report said.

The report said any strategic approach should be on catalyzing change, preparing for future accountability, preserving and organizing evidence, and effectively using available international mechanisms.

And in doing so, the report urged the international community to strengthen Burmese activists both inside and at the border to be able to effectively document the human rights violations and preserve and organise evidences.


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