May 15, 2014

Burma Campaign UK is calling on Tony Blair to disclose what his involvement is with President Thein Sein of Burma.

Tony Blair has visited Burma on around three occasions, and is believed to be providing some kind of advisory role to the President. However, for the past year he has been refusing to disclose exactly what his role is, and what kind of advice he is providing. The British Foreign Office, which helped to arrange at least one of his visits to Burma, has turned down a freedom of information request asking for the details and purpose of his visit.

Burma Campaign UK has written to Tony Blair’s office 11 times in the past year, asking him to clarify what his involvement in Burma is. He has refused to disclose this information.

In December 2013, the office of Tony Blair replied to one letter, but ignored specific questions about what they are doing in Burma, instead just saying it was ‘governance work’ in supporting the government of Burma. The letter stated, “We are currently carrying out governance work on a short-term basis, supporting the government to build delivery mechanisms to help deliver their long-term strategic goals.” This description in the letter was so general as to be meaningless.

Burma Campaign UK has repeatedly asked for further clarification, regarding what kind of governance work is being undertaken, and what delivery mechanism and what long-term strategic goals Tony Blair is helping the military-backed government in Burma with. We have received no response.

“Given that Tony Blair has ignored eleven requests over the past year asking what he is doing in Burma, we can only assume that it is controversial and he wants to keep it a secret”, said Zoya Phan, Campaigns Manager at Burma Campaign UK. “Giving strategic, political and public relations advice to the military-backed government while its soldiers are still attacking and killing civilians and raping ethnic women, would be deplorable. Tony Blair used to preach the need for transparency, now he should practice it and come clean about what he is doing in Burma.”

The letters sent to Tony Blair and the single response received are below:

Letter 1 sent May 2013

Letter 2 sent September 2013

Letter 3 sent October 2013

Letter 4 sent November 2013

Letter 5 sent December 2013

Letter 6 sent December 2013

Letter 7 sent January 2014

Letter 8 sent February 2014

Letter 9 sent March 2014

Letter 10 sent April 2014

Letter 11 sent May 2014

Reply from Tony Blair’s office December 2013

FCO response to a freedom of information request December 2013.

 

 


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