US will back a UN human rights probe of Myanmar
The online news portal of TV5
WASHINGTON - The United States said Saturday it is prepared to support a UN-backed human rights probe in Myanmar, after opposition icon Aung San Suu Kyi urged such an investigation.
The United States "is committed to seeking accountability for the human rights violations that have occurred in Burma by working to establish an international commission of inquiry," said the State Department, using the older term for the Southeast Asian country.
"We are consulting closely with our friends, allies, and other partners at the United Nations," US officials said in the statement.
Suu Kyi, who was released in November after spending most of the past two decades under house arrest, spoke by video Wednesday in a first-ever message to the US Congress, a stronghold of support for the Nobel Peace Prize winner.
She asked lawmakers to do "whatever you can" to support the work of the UN special rapporteur on human rights in Myanmar and assured that a so-called commission of inquiry would not be a tribunal.
The United States has publicly supported a UN-led probe -- a longstanding demand of activists. But it has done little to make it a reality, worrying its efforts would be futile so long as Asian countries -- particularly China -- are opposed.
UN-led commissions of inquiry elsewhere in the world have led to charges and prosecution, with Sudan's President Omar al-Bashir risking arrest if he travels to countries that recognize the International Criminal Court.
Human rights groups say that Myanmar has a record of severe human rights abuses including extrajudicial killings, custodial deaths, torture and frequent rape of displaced women from minority groups.