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International Coalition for the Responsibility to Protect
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Mizzima News
8 May 2009

Over 60 British Members of Parliament have called on the United Nations to form a commission of inquiry into crimes against humanity committed by Burmas ruling junta and to invoke the principle of Responsibility to Protect (R2P) in relation to the crisis in Burma.

The MPs including the Former Foreign Office Ministers, Ian McCartney and Keith Vaz have signed an Early Day Motion (EDM), which was tabled by MP John Bercow, Co-Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group for Democracy in Burma, expressing concern at the deteriorating human rights situation in Burma.

The MPs, in the EDM, urged the UN to invoke the principle of Responsibility to Protect (R2P) in relation to the Burmese juntas appalling human rights records particularly a military campaign against its ethnic nationalities. The EMD rges Her Majesty's Government, along with other governments, to propose the establishment of a commission of inquiry to investigate allegations of crimes against humanity and war crimes in Burma; and urges the UN to invoke the principle of Responsibility to Protect in relation to the crisis in Burma.

Rights groups and activists accused Burmas military government of using policies to terrorize its citizens, more severely in remote areas of the country, where ethnic minorities live, in order to maintain its stranglehold on power. The Christian Solidarity Worldwide, a campaign group that has been lobbying for democratic change in Burma, in a statement on Thursday said the Burmese juntas policies include the widespread use of rape as a weapon of war, forced labour, the use of human minesweepers, and child soldiers. ()

The Early Day Motions are formal motions submitted for debate in the House of Commons in the British Parliament. While very few EDMs are actually debated, they highlight the extent of parliamentary support for a particular cause or view point. Alexa Papadouris, CSW's Advocacy Director said their group calls on he British Government and other Governments to take this call seriously and to initiate a commission of inquiry into the junta's crimes against humanity.r
The concept of R2P was adopted in 2005 World Summit, where governments and world leaders agreed that they have a responsibility to protect when a government is unable or unwilling to protect its civilians from genocide, war crimes, crimes against humanity, and ethnic cleansing.

In implementing R2P, first peaceful measures can be adopted through the use of economic, political, diplomatic, and legal tools but if this fails the International community can use collective force through the UN Security Council under Chapter VII of the UN Charter, only as a last resort.


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