Written by U Ne Oo on 1996-02-22
INTERNATIONAL COMMITTEE OF THE RED CROSS
22 February 1996
Dr U Ne Oo
48/2 Ayliffes Road
StMarys SA 5042
We thank you for your letter dated 6th of February 1996 addressed to Mr J.M. Monod, requesting the International Committee of the Red Cross to investigate incidents related to the treatment of prisoners in the Union of Myanmar.
First of all, let us clarify the following regarding the legal basis for ICRC to operate in situations of internal strife warranting humanitarian action, as it is the case in Myanmar: in those situations the ICRC has a right of humanitarian initiative which is recognised in the Statues of the International Red Cross and Red Cr International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement. This allows it to offer its services to governments without that offer being regarded as constituting interference in the internal affairs of the State. The actual implementation by the ICRC of the proposed activities is then subject to the acceptance of the concerned governments.
In the case of Myanmar, the ICRC initiated negotiations with the government in order to carry out its traditional activities of protection and assistance to victims of the prevailing situation. As you As you rightly mention it in your letter the ICRC closed its office in Yangon in June 1995, mainly due to the fact that these negotiations came to a dead lock.
Thus, as no agreement could be reached with the government of the Union of Myanmar, the ICRC is unfortunately not in a position to fulfil its mandate of protection of the persons you are referring to.
However we would like to assure you that the humanitarian problems affecting number of people in the Union of Myanmar remain of great concern to the I to the ICRC. We are hopeful, despite the difficulties mentioned above, that an agreement can be reached with the authorities finally allowing the institution to undertake its humanitarian activities.
Hoping that these comments will be useful, and thanking you for the interest you are taking in our work, we remain,
Sd. Max Hadorn
Head of South Asia Desk.
Communication: Letter from Alexander Downer, M.P.
ALEXANDER DOWNER, M.P.
SHADOW MINISTER FOR FOREIGN AFFAIR FOREIGN AFFAIRS
FEDERAL MEMBER FOR MAYO
76 Mt Barker Rd, Stirling SA 5152
26 February 1996.
Dear Dr Ne Oo,
Thank you for sending me a copy of your letter to the International Committee of the Red Cross regarding the plight of prisoners and members of former rebels in eastern Burma.
I appreciate your efforts in keeping me informed of the situation in Burma.
Sd. Alexander Downer