Human Rights Commission Met with Skepticism
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Thursday, April 22, 2021

Human Rights Commission Met with Skepticism

By KO HTWE Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Burmese soldiers and convict porters near the front line in Karen State (Photo: Human Rights Watch)

Burmese human rights groups have greeted news of the creation of a “Myanmar National Human Rights Commission” (MNHRC) with doubts about how independent the new body will be and questions about key members, who include past defenders of the country's human rights record.

The MNHRC was officially formed on Monday to promote and safeguard the fundamental rights of citizens in accordance with the 2008 Constitution, Burma's state-run media reported on Tuesday. The 15-member body includes retired senior officials, diplomats, academics, doctors and lawyers.

The chairman and vice chairman of the commission are retired ambassadors Win Mra and Kyaw Tint Swe, while its secretary is Sit Myaing, the retired director general of the Social Welfare Department.

“I am skeptical about whether the commission will speak based on the truth and take action against human rights violations in accordance with the law,” said Aung Myo Min, the director of the Thailand-based Human Rights Education Institute of Burma.

Aung Myo Min said it was doubtful that a human rights body led by former officials who have defended the country against criticism of its human rights record in the past would act independently of the government.

Win Mra once told a UN gathering that there was no religious discrimination in Burma, and also insisted that there was no such racial group as the Rohingya—a Muslim minority living in Arakan State—in the country.

As the Burmese representative of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations Human Rights Commission, Kyaw Tint Swe was often unwilling to discuss rights restrictions in Burma, added Aung Myo Min.

At a Universal Periodic Review (UPR) of Burma's human rights situation by the United Nations Human Rights Council, Burmese representatives continued to deny reports of forced labor, sexual violence against women and other abuses perpetrated by the country's military.

At the UPR meeting in January, the Burmese delegation said that accusations of widespread rights violations, especially in ethnic areas, were “baseless and merely aimed at discrediting the Burmese armed forces.”

Despite these denials, however, there are many well-documented cases of human rights abuses in Burma, including land confiscation, forcible recruitment of child soldiers, forced labor and rape and murder of ethnic civilians in conflict zones.

Maung Maung Lay, of the Rangoon-based Human Rights Defenders and Promoters group, said he welcomed the creation any organization seeking to promote human rights, but would have to wait and see whether the new commission acted in an independent manner.

In the 1990s, Burma's ruling junta formed a human rights committee led by Home Affairs Minister Col Tin Hlaing, and later by Maj-Gen Maung Oo.

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Shwe Rakhine Wrote:
I don't want to flare up another discussion on Rakhine and Rohingya. But each time, a prominent Rakhine is given a lead role/prominence there seems to be no shortage of criticism. U Win Mra has barely started his assignment yet I read already comments rife with hatred (e.g., Win Mra cannot speak Rakhine...)

I am beginning to feel concern amongst the some Myanmar opposition that the current system seems to be turning the corner to their dismay. How they wish Daw Aung San Suu Kyi not deal with the government, period!

Oo Maung gyi Wrote:
I do not want to make argument whether Rohingya is exist in Arakan or not, because we have to discuss through history of Arakan Kingdom. But the fact is that After the split of AFPFL party, U Nu the then Prime Minister of Burma and Brigd.General Aung Gyi who was second in command in Tatmadaw had created May Yu frontier region composing Buthidaung and Maungdaw two township and declared that this region peoples were called from now "Rohingyas", it can be a political stern o what is the motive only Bama leaders know that fact. In fact in this area Muslims are settled from the time of Arakanese Kings.

Andrew Aung Khaing Wrote:
There is nothing wrong for Win Mra to say that there is no such a race as so-called Rohingya in Burma. If he sees one, he could correctly identify him/her as Bengli Muslim illegal immigrant. I'm not pro-Junta. However, it doesn't necessarily mean that I've to be pro-so-called-Rohingya.

Oo Maung gyi Wrote:
Win Mra who is an Arakanese but can not speak Aakanese language and also lost Arakanese spirits. Raymond Mears is a Muslim who performed Hajj last few yeas back now no more drinking. These peoples work very hard through His Master Voice. No initiative and lack of leadership quality. Raymond Mears is friend of Ngwe Soe son of Dictato New Win.
Just see the stage, how they play.

james o'brien Wrote:
Win Mra and Kyaw Tint Swe are the junta's men.

Win Mra is a member of the Arakanese elite in Rangoon. He would not know a Rohingya if he saw one.

Kyaw Tint Swe was a pariah at the UN Security Council meeting reference either Nargis or the Saffron Revolution.

None of the other delegates even wanted to talk to him.

Another ex-diplomat named Raymond Mears (spelled phonetically) went to Columbia in 90s to buy arms for junta.

But don't worry - this lot, like former Foreign Minister and Khin Nyunt, will also have their own human rights violated -

see Than Shwe's Culture of Fear.

James O'Brien

Mualcin Wrote:
Will they defend the citizens or will they defend dictators from their crimes against humanities? Only time will tell, fellas.

Tom Tun Wrote:
Recently, Thein Sein government may have responsibilities to rescue his old master Than Shwe and some of the military criminals from their crime against humanity which International Criminal Court want to investigate. The best tactic to avoid ICC investigation is to create the regime own version of truth about Human Rights violation in Burma and against with international and opposition facts provided. In other words, water down the problems or fight fire with fire. This committee will never have true will to do the right thing. It is just another game.

kerry Wrote:
They just arrested a returning exiled journalist.

There are 2200 political prisoners.

The human rights abuses are documented, then and now.

Adhering to human right principles is like pregnancy: you are or you aren't.

China isn't. Therefore their place on UNHRC is a lie.

It is not like the world cannot see.

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