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Asian Tribune is published by World Institute For Asian Studies|Powered by WIAS Vol. 12 No. 2954

Security Council resolution, Canadian support essential for democracy in Burma

Montreal, 07 June, ( The United Nations Security Council must enact concrete measures aimed at forcing Burma’s ruling military regime (SPDC) to respect human rights and end its use of violence and political repression against its people, Rights & Democracy said today in a letter addressed to UN Secretary-General, Kofi Annan.

The recent renewal of Nobel Peace Prize winner Aung San Suu Kyi’s detention under house arrest, which now totals more than 10 years, and the internal displacement of more than 13,000 Karen villagers after recent military assaults are two of the latest developments in Burma that necessitate a firm and unequivocal Security Council resolution in defence of human rights and democracy there.

“International interventions to bring peace to Burma and ensure respect for human rights have ended in failure,” writes Jean-Louis Roy, President of Rights & Democracy. “Peace and democracy in Burma are not only crucial to the realization of human rights for millions in Burma, but they are essential to the interests of regional and global security.”

Rights & Democracy’s letter joins a growing international campaign in support of a recent report commissioned by former Czech Republic President, Vaclav Havel, and South African Nobel Peace Prize laureate, Bishop Desmond Tutu. The report, titled Threat to the Peace: A Call for the UN Security Council to Act in Burma, concludes that a Security Council resolution is key to breaking the SPDC’s totalitarian grip on Burma.

Rights & Democracy said a UNSC resolution should include the following four points:

Urge the SPDC to immediately end its attacks on indigenous/ethnic minorities and release Aung San Suu Kyi and all political prisoners;

Call on the SPDC to create the conditions of transparency, accountability and non-interference required to allow international humanitarian assistance to reach the most vulnerable groups of the population, including internally displaced persons;

Require the SPDC to work with the Secretary-General’s office in implementing a plan for national reconciliation in order to restore democracy while respecting the results of the May 1990 elections;

Allow the Secretary-General to report back to the Security Council on a regular basis.

Rights & Democracy has also written Canada’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Peter MacKay, to request the Government of Canada’s support for this matter, which would respond to the Parliamentary motion on Burma adopted in May, 2005.

Surprisingly, no past Canadian governments have supported any of Burma’s democratic institutions. These institutions, which include Burma’s government in exile and the Members of Parliament Union, are dependent on funding from foreign governments for their existence and Rights & Democracy urges an end to Canada’s silence on this matter.

Rights & Democracy’s involvement in Burma dates to 1990, the year Burma’s military refused to cede power to Aung San Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy party after its landslide election victory. Rights & Democracy was the first institution to support the democratically-elected government-in-exile, and remains committed to supporting Burma’s democratic movement.

Rights & Democracy is a non-partisan, independent Canadian institution created by an Act of Parliament in 1988 to promote, advocate and defend the democratic and human rights set out in the International Bill of Human Rights. In cooperation with civil society and governments in Canada and abroad, Rights & Democracy initiates and supports programmes to strengthen laws and democratic institutions, principally in developing countries.

- Asian Tribune - .

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