Debate on economic, social and cultural rights

Press Release

Commission on Human Rights
56th session
3 April 2000

Debate on economic, social and cultural rights continued this afternoon with a series of countries and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) telling the Commission on Human Rights that more had to be done to battle poverty and that a prime obstacle to improving the lives of millions was the crippling external debt owed by many of the world’s poorest nations.

Addressing the afternoon meeting were representatives of Panama, Malaysia, Honduras, San Marino, Habitat International Coalition, Egypt, Bolivia, Food and Agriculture Organization, Uruguay, Iran, and Yemen.

The following NGOs delivered statements: International Federation of University Women (on behalf of several other NGOs); International Federation of Rural Adult Catholic Movements; Caritas International; International Save the Children Alliance; World Federation of United Nations Associations; International Federation of Human Rights Leagues; Union of Arab Jurists;

Asian Legal Resource Centre; Centre on Housing Rights and Evictions; Centre Europe – Tiers Monde; Pax Romana; International Movement of the Apostolate in the Independent Social Milieus; and Liberation.

MARK TAMTHAI, of Asian Legal Resource Centre, said the Government of Myanmar had failed to respect the economic, social and cultural rights of its people and to protect the natural resources, the labour and the freedom by which people obtained food. In the name of national security, the army had burned food and crops, displaced civilians and relocated  communities to areas unfit for sustaining their livelihoods.

The military made persistent, onerous demands for rice, foodstuffs, material and labour. People had to flee to the forests without reliable food supply, proper housing or health care. Hunger, illness and death ensued. The State had consistently and consciously violated the right to work, as documented by the International Labour Office.


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The Asian Legal Resource Centre (ALRC) works towards the radical rethinking & fundamental redesigning of justice institutions in Asia, to ensure relief and redress for victims of human rights violations, as per Common Article 2 of the International Conventions. Sister organisation to the Asian Human Rights Commission, the ALRC is based in Hong Kong & holds general consultative status with the Economic & Social Council of the United Nations.

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