Newspaper: US to support UN inquiry of human rights abuses, war crimes in Myanmar

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Newspaper: US to support UN inquiry in Myanmar

WASHINGTON — The Obama administration has decided to support creation of a United Nations commission to look into alleged crimes against humanity and war crimes in Myanmar, The Washington Post reported Wednesday.

An article on the newspaper’s website quoted unidentified U.S. officials as saying the administration also is considering tightening financial sanctions against the Myanmar regime to perhaps force it to open its political system and free thousands of political prisoners.

The newspaper said that by supporting the U.N. inquiry, the Obama administration is committing itself to backing an investigation of the military junta led since 1992 by Senior Gen. Than Shwe.

Than Shwe’s loyalists overturned election results in 1990 that favored the political party of Aung San Suu Kyi. Suu Kyi, who was named a Nobel Peace Prize laureate, remains under house arrest.

Myanmar, also known as Burma, is holding elections Nov. 7 — the first in two decades — but critics say they are a sham designed to perpetuate the military’s commanding role in politics.

Aung Din, executive director of the Washington-based U.S. Campaign for Burma, called the Obama administration’s move “the right and timely action.”

In a statement issued Wednesday, Din said members of the junta “are expecting to delete their dirty crimes by putting a sham constitution into effect through a sham election. This is a clear message that the United States will not recognize their showcase election and will take them accountable for their horrible abuses against their own citizens.”

The Obama administration entered office with a desire to shift course on Myanmar.

Pro-democracy and human rights groups have urged the U.N. Security Council to impose an arms embargo on Myanmar’s military regime and establish a commission of inquiry into crimes against humanity.

They fear a humanitarian crisis may develop along the border with Thailand, where the Myanmar military has been fighting ethnic Karens, pushing thousands of refugees across the border. Karen National Union fighters have been battling for half a century for greater autonomy from Myanmar’s central government.

will not be displayed