October 5, 2009

The Burma Campaign UK today welcomed a statement from the government of Switzerland that it supports the United Nations imposing a global arms embargo against Burma. Switzerland becomes the 31st country to officially support such an embargo.

The statement from Switzerland came after supporters of the Burma Campaign UK launched an email campaign calling on the Swiss government to support the embargo.  Campaigners are attempting to build a global consensus on a UN arms embargo against Burma, in order to help overcome expected opposition at the Security Council by Russia and China.

In response to requests from the campaign, the Swiss government stated:
“Switzerland introduced embargo measures against Myanmar already in October 2000. Switzerland’s sanctions include a comprehensive arms embargo as well as an embargo on items that may be used for internal repression. The measures are in line with the EU sanctions against Myanmar and are being periodically updated. We agree that only common action of all states can be effective, and that therefore all states that continue to export arms to Myanmar must be willing to stop their exports. Thus, Switzerland would welcome and support a coordinated initiative of the European Union and the US at the UN level to stop arms exports to Myanmar.”

“We welcome the support of Switzerland for a global arms embargo against Burma,” said Zoya Phan, International Coordinator of Burma Campaign UK. “Burma’s dictatorship is committing war crimes and crimes against humanity, it is shocking that there isn’t already an arms embargo in place.”

Following the conviction of Aung San Suu Kyi in a sham trial in August 2009, British Prime Minister Gordon Brown stated: “I also believe that the UN Security Council – whose will has been flouted – must also now respond resolutely and impose a worldwide ban on the sale of arms to the regime.”

Countries supporting a global arms embargo so far are: Australia, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Cyprus,  Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, United Kingdom and USA.

For more information contact Zoya Phan or Mark Farmaner, Director of Burma Campaign UK, on 020 7324 4710.


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