November 2, 2004

British Government must bar Dictatorship Delegation

Burma’s brutal military dictatorship is sending a delegation to the World Travel Market exhibition, organised by Reed Elsevier, to be held in London Docklands from 8-11 November.

The Burma Campaign UK today called on the British government to deny entry visas to a tourism delegation being sent to the UK by the regime in Burma.

“This delegation is coming to the UK because they want to encourage British people to visit Burma, but every tourist that visits Burma funds the regime and helps to keep them in power,” said Anna Roberts, Campaigns Officer at the Burma Campaign UK. “The British government supports Aung San Suu Kyi’s call for tourists not to visit Burma, and has asked companies not to trade with Burma. This delegation is coming to promote the tourist trade to Burma. There is no way Foreign Secretary Jack Straw should allow them into the UK.”

Tourism is an important source of income for the dictatorship in Burma, providing it with millions of pounds every year. The regime spends around half its budget on the military and just 19p per person per year on health. Forced and child labour has been used to develop many tourist facilities.

The Burma Campaign UK is also calling on Sir Crispin Davis, Chief Executive of Reed Elsevier, to retract his company’s invitation to the dictatorship. The World Travel Market is being organised by Reed Travel Exhibitions, a subsidiary of Reed Elsevier. “Reed Elsevier are ignoring British government policy and the requests of Burma’s democrats,” said Anna Roberts. “Sir Crispin Davis can’t claim to be running a responsible company on the one hand, and then take blood money from Burma’s dictatorship with the other.”

For more information contact Anna Roberts, Campaigns Officer on 020 7324 4711, or Mark Farmaner, Media Officer on 020 7324 4713

 


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