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India questions usefulness of possible Myanmar probe

Following a proposal by an independent human rights expert to set up Commission of Inquiry into alleged human rights violations in Myanmar, India questioned the utility of such a probe with a "fact finding mandate."

world Updated: Oct 27, 2010 08:49 IST

Following a proposal by an independent human rights expert to set up Commission of Inquiry into alleged human rights violations in Myanmar, India questioned the utility of such a probe with a "fact finding mandate."

India has noted pointed out such action may be "counter productive" and "end up adversely affecting the very people it is supposed to help" in the military-ruled country.

An Indian diplomat Acquino Vimal told a General Assembly Committee that there is no mention of such an inquiry in the report on Myanmar released by Secretary General Ban Ki-moon.

"We have, however, noted that this ("fact finding mandate") does not find any reference in the UN Secretary General's report on Myanmar," Vimal said last week.

"We would like to have the Special Rapporteur's views on how such a course of action proposed by him would be compatible with the UNSG's Good Offices process," he added.

India noted that November 7 elections would be a forward step "in the national reconciliation process and democratic transition" of Myanmar.

"We believe that the focus of efforts of the international community should be on ensuring constructive engagement with Myanmar," said Vimal. "This is particularly important when national elections."

Noting that "Myanmar was an important neighbour of India," the diplomat underlined the importance of "peace and stability on our borders."

Ahead of the landmark elections, UN human rights expert Tomas Ojea Quintana has stressed that "justice and accountability" were a key "to any transition" into a democracy and "national reconciliation."

"If the government fails to assume these responsibilities then the international community must take action," he said. "Commission of inquiry should not be considered as a means to punish but as a tool to address impunity."

Quintana had also pointed out to countries that "delegations opposed to the commission of inquiry but not to the idea of justice."

The expert asserted, so far, there was no signs that Myanmar would carry out a free and fair elections, and most international observers are disappointed with the electoral process in the military-ruled nation.

"It is clear that the process remains deeply flawed," Quintana said. "Freedom of expression, Freedom of assembly and association have been further restricted through implementation of the election laws."

"There has been no release of prisoners of conscience," he added. "I repeat conditions of genuine elections are limited under the current circumstances."

Quintana insisted that Myanmar needed to send a strong signal to the international community about its commitment to hold genuine elections. "Unconditional release of prisoners of conscience would be such a signal," he said.

In his three visits to Myanmar, the human rights expert has not been allowed to see democracy icon Aung San Su Kyi by the military regime in the country.