Friday, May 8, 2009

60 British MPs call for UN inquiry into Burmese military's crimes against humanity


For Immediate Release

07 May 2009


Over 60 British MPs are calling for a United Nations (UN) commission of inquiry into crimes against humanity in Burma, just two weeks before Nobel Laureate and democracy leader Daw Aung San Suu Kyi is due for release from house arrest.

Former Foreign Office Ministers, Ian McCartney, MP and Keith Vaz, MP join over fifty other MPs in signing an Early Day Motion (EDM) tabled by John Bercow MP, Co-Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group for Democracy in Burma, to express their profound concern at the deteriorating human rights situation in Burma.

EDM 1336 urges the UN to invoke the principle of Responsibility to Protect in relation to a campaign of ethnic cleansing Burma’s military regime is carrying out against its ethnic nationalities.

The Burmese junta’s policies include the widespread use of rape as a weapon of war, forced labour, the use of human minesweepers, child soldiers, and the destruction of over 3,300 villages in eastern Burma since 1996, in addition to the imprisonment of over 2,100 political prisoners. Attacks on civilians have also resulted in the internal displacement of one million people.

John Bercow MP said: “I have visited the ethnic peoples on both the Thailand-Burma border and the India-Burma border with CSW, and have been shocked by the horrific stories I have heard from victims of this barbaric regime. I have sat face to face with victims of unspeakable torture, including women and children who have seen their loved ones murdered. They have looked me in the eye and pleaded for the world to hear their cry. It is time their cries were answered and the junta's crimes investigated. The people of Burma urgently need the freedom and justice they have been denied for so long."

Alexa Papadouris, CSW's Advocacy Director said: “CSW strongly urges the British Government and other Governments to take this call seriously and to initiate a commission of inquiry into the junta's crimes against humanity. We will not stop campaigning and we will not stop speaking out until the suffering in Burma is over and all Burma’s people are free.”

For further information or to arrange interviews please contact Theresa Malinowska, Press Officer at Christian Solidarity Worldwide on email theresamalinowska@ or visit uk.

CSW is a human rights organisation which specialises in religious freedom, works on behalf of those persecuted for their Christian beliefs and promotes religious liberty for all.

Note to Editors:

1. The full EDM text reads: That this House expresses profound concern at the desperate and deteriorating human rights situation in Burma; condemns the continuing widespread and systematic use of rape as a weapon of war, torture, forced labour, forced relocation, religious persecution, forcible recruitment of child soldiers and use of human minesweepers by the military regime; further condemns the military offensives in eastern Burma, including attacks on civilians, resulting in the internal displacement of one million people and the destruction of more than 3,300 villages in eastern Burma alone, and the imprisonment of over 2,100 political prisoners and continued detention of Nobel Laureate Aung San Suu Kyi; calls on Her Majesty's Government to draw these gross violations of human rights to the urgent attention of the UN Security Council and the Secretary-General; urges 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.

2. To find out more about CSW’s Change for Burma! Campaign and to watch an interview with John Bercow MP, please click here.

3. To sign a CSW supported online petition led by the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners and the Forum for Democracy in Burma, calling on the UN Secretary-General to make the release of Burma’s 2,100 political prisoners a personal priority, please click here or visit www.changeforburma. org


No comments: