Response from the International Community

Northern Kayin State villagers shot on sight for violating SPDC-imposed movement restrictions, March 2007

The way violations have been committed against ethnic minorities in Myanmar has led organizations such as Human Rights Watch to call on the international community to investigate whether the Myanmar government is guilty of committing crimes against humanity.

The Myanmar government’s maltreatment of ethnic minorities (especially through the practices of forced labor, extrajudicial killing, rape, and torture) as well as the huge refugee population that has fled the country led many to consider this as a situation not of random acts of oppression but rather persecution of a more systematic nature.

Read each treaty’s description and click YES or NO as to whether or not you think Myanmar has ratified it.
Then click SHOW ME to find out.

The case of Myanmar unfortunately illustrates how the effective enforcement of human rights
still lags far behind broad acceptance of the idea of human rights.
Unfortunately, the US failed in its attempt to get a UN Security Council resolution passed that called on the Myanmar government to release all political prisoners and stop the attacks on ethnic minorities. Both China and Russia vetoed the resolution, arguing that the situation in Myanmar did not constitute a matter of international peace and security. According to the UN Charter, the Security Council can only pass binding resolutions on matters of international peace and security.

The stalemate in the UN Security Council shows how precarious it can be to rely on the international community for effective enforcement of human rights. It also highlights that protecting human rights is a relatively low priority for the international community, especially when that goal is weighed against protecting state sovereignty.

Which is more important to protect: state sovereignty or human rights?

Which do you think is a better strategy for securing human rights: isolating or trying to engage a repressive regime like the one in Myanmar?

US: Myanmar expels U.N. diplomat
NY Times: Justices Limit the Reach of US Antitrust Law in Transactions
Reuters: Massachusetts Myanmar Trade Law Struck Down

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international community
and the US.