Rights Violations Continue in Arakan State, Arakanese Leader tells Quintana

By Maung Rammer
Rangoon: An Arakanese political leader, U Aye Tha Aung, says he has told the UN Special human rights envoy to Burma, Tomas Ojea Quintana that the violations of basic human rights are still continuing in western Burma’s Arakan State.

U Aye Tha Aung is general secretary of the Arakan League for Democracy that won overwhelming votes in the 1990 election in Arakan State and he told Quintana of the present human rights situation in his native region when he met him on the evening of the 3rd of February as one of the representatives of the ethnic nationalities in Burma.

Quintana visited Burma for his six-day human rights mission that started on the 31st of January, and met the representatives of ethnic nationalities in the country as part of his mission.

“I have told Quintana that human rights violations in Arakan State are still continuing in various ways like in the eras of the SLORC and the SPDC, and that forcible farmland confiscations are the worst form of violation in the region, and that those violations have been badly hurting the people in the region, particularly in socio-economical and educational aspects”, said U Aye Tha Aung.

He said the other ethnic leaders who included U Khun Htun Oo, the Chairman of the Shan National League for Democracy, and U Pu Kyin Htan, the Chairman of Zomi National Congress, told of the violations and suffering of peoples in their respective regions as well.

He also said the ethnic leaders told Quintana to urge the present Burmese regime to reform the country according to the Panlong Agreements that coined Burma’s independence with the peaceful co-existences of all ethnic peoples in the country.

“We told Quintana that the ceasefires are not enough to build a peaceful Burma and the present Burmese regime needs to work on the fundamentals of the Panlong agreements or treaty that ethnic peoples have been longing for since the Burma’s independence, in order to turn Burma into a genuinely peaceful and stable country”, said U Aye Tha Aung.

Quintana is said to report his findings on his present mission in Burma to the UN’s Human Rights Council in May 2012 and to the UN’s general convention in October 2012 respectively.

It was Quintana’s fifth visit to Burma since he was appointed as UN Special Rapporteur on human rights in the country in March 2008 and the second since a new government took over state power in March 2011.