– VOA News
A leading human rights group has urged the United Nations General Assembly to establish an international commission of inquiry into human rights violations in Burma.
Amnesty International issued the appeal on Friday, calling on the world body to act on a recommendation by the U.N.’s special rapporteur on human rights in Burma.
Several governments, including the United States, have already expressed support for creating a commission to look at suspected war crimes and crimes against humanity in Burma. Canada became the latest country to support such a probe on Thursday.
Amnesty International says the commission should focus on reports of systematic persecution of religious and ethnic minorities, specifically the largely Muslim Rohingya community in Rakhine state, the Shan in Shan state and the Karen in eastern Burma.
Special Rapporteur Tomas Ojea Quintana proposed an inquiry in a March 2010 report to the U.N. Human Rights Council.
He wrote that “consistent reports” raised the possibility that some rights violations in Burma “may entail categories of crimes against humanity or war crimes under the terms of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court.”
He added that U.N. institutions “may consider the possibility to establish a commission of inquiry with a specific fact-finding mandate to address the question of international crimes.”
The pressure for an investigation comes as Burma is moving toward its first parliamentary election in 20 years.
Strict election rules have made it impossible for opposition parties to compete effectively, prompting charges that the election is designed merely to legitimize the ruling military junta’s hold on power.