EU Consultations on Draft UNHRC Resolution on Burma

Below is a summary from consultations held by the European Union on a draft text on Burma (Myanmar) to be presented at today’s Special Session of the UN Human Rights Council.

  • The EU has proposed a strong text and they are striving for consensus. In order to achieve this, they may need to water down the text considerably.
  • Russia opposed the fact that NGOs could participate in the consultations and submit proposals. The Ambassador of Portugal (current EU president) said that these were open consultations and all could participate.
  • India, China, Cuba, Brazil, Pakistan and Russia called for a balanced, forward-looking, concise, focused, action-oriented, constructive text, that would not contain controversial or inflammatory language, that would call for the engagement of the government of Myanmar and that would only focus on the recent events. In contrast, the US, Canada, Japan and Australia praised the text.
  • Cuba asked for the resolution to call for restraint from “all parties.” Australia responded that there was only one party that needed to show restraint.
  • Russia offered a number of amendments to water-down the text. One of the most important was changing “strongly condemns” to “gravely concerned.”
  • Russia also wanted to delete a paragraph on the humanitarian situation, as being not in the scope of the HRC. Canada said that it is relevant as it affects the fulfillment of human rights, such as the right to food.
  • Cuba asked to insert a mention that freedom of expression and the freedom of assembly are not absolute and can be limited with national legislation. Portugal responded that this is language directly from the UDHR.

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