February 9, 2011

Burma Campaign UK today welcomed steps taken by the British government to highlight restrictions on freedom of speech and scrutiny in Burma’s new Parliament.

In response to a question in the British Parliament, Jeremy Browne MP, Foreign Office Minister with responsibility for Burma, stated: “we have raised our concerns over the restrictive and undemocratic nature of the regime’s political process with our international partners, including in recent weeks with China, Singapore, Indonesia, the Philippines, and Thailand. We will again underline our concerns at the forthcoming session of the Human Rights Council in March.”

Also in response to the question, asked by Gregory Campbell MP, Jeremy Browne stated: “The Government are deeply concerned by reported restrictions on freedom of speech and scrutiny in Burma’s Parliament. It has been reported:

(i) that the Speaker of the Lower House can reject parliamentary questions that he judges will affect international relations, or which undermine the interests of the state;

(ii) that it is a criminal offence, punishable by at least two years in prison, to publish or disclose information relating to parliamentary business.”

“MPs in Burma can go to jail simply for telling their constituents what is going on in Parliament,” said Mary Hla, Campaigns Officer at Burma Campaign UK. “Under the new Constitution they can even go to jail for calling for democratic change. Parliament is powerless to bring real change to our country. We welcome the steps taken by the British government to draw attention to some of the many ways in which the dictatorship restricts freedoms in order to maintain its rule.”

For more information contact Mary Hla on 44(0)20 7324 4710.


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