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Burma's National Human Rights Commission recommends ratifying key rights treaties

ARTICLE 19 welcomes Myanmar's National Human Rights Commission's recommendation that the government ratify the two most significant international human rights treaties. The strong stance adopted by the Commission is noteworthy due to its closeness with the government.

"ARTICLE 19 commends the Commission for its strong recommendation. If the government is serious about democratic reform, it must ratify the International Covenants that form the core of international human rights law, and then begin to reform their national laws in line with the treaties too," said Dr Agnes Callamard, ARTICLE 19 executive director.

"The international community should support the National Human Rights Commission in calling on the government to ratify the treaties as soon as possible. Without ratification and then implementation of these treaties, real democratisation is impossible," she added.

The National Human Rights Commission [on 21 June 2013] announced that they have recommended the government ratify the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (known as the ICCPR) and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (known as the ICESCR).

These two treaties provide the basis of human rights law. They obligate states to protect among other things, the right to life, the right not to be tortured, the right to liberty and security of person, the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion, the right to form a union, and of course the right to freedom of expression.

The vast majority of states have ratified the two treaties, which were adopted by the General Assembly of the United Nations in 1966.

ARTICLE 19 calls on the government of Myanmar to implement the recommendation of the National Human Rights Commission and ratify the two treaties.

ARTICLE 19 also urges the government to ratify the Optional Protocol to the ICCPR and the Optional Protocol to the ICESCR. The Optional Protocols enable individuals to bring cases to the Committees that oversee the two treaties, in effect creating a body of appeal above the supreme court.

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