May 20, 2010

Free Elections ‘Impossible’

The European Parliament today unanimously passed a strong resolution on Burma, stating that election laws make free elections ‘impossible’ and the new constitution will ‘maintain a dictatorship in a civilian guise’.

The European Parliament also called EU member states to support the recommendation by the UN Special Rapporteur on Burma for a United Nations Commission of Inquiry into war crimes and crimes against humanity in Burma. So far, within the EU, only the UK and Czech Republic have publicly supported an inquiry.

The European Parliament also made welcome calls for action in other areas, including calls for:

• The European Commission to reverse cuts in funding to refugees on the Thailand-Burma border.
• The immediate release of all political prisoners.
• The United Nations to focus on securing genuine tri-partite dialogue between all the parties, including ethnic groups, and the dictatorship, after seven years of diplomacy failed to secure a single change to the dictatorship’s so-called ‘roadmap to democracy’.
• The European Commission to start funding cross-border aid to parts of Burma where the regime blocks aid.
• The EU to start actively working on building global support for a UN arms embargo on Burma.
• Bangladesh to improve its treatment of Rohingya refugees.

The European Parliament also highlighted the case of Ko Mya Aye and other political prisoners who are being denied medical treatment.

“This strong resolution from the European Parliament is a warning to Burma’s generals that the international community is not fooled by their fake elections”, said Zoya Phan, International Coordinator at Burma Campaign UK. “This resolution is a wake-up call to European member states and UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon that they have a job to do on Burma, and they are not doing it. It is not good enough to sit back and hope something good comes out of elections. Burma is facing many urgent problems right now, and the fake elections won’t solve them. They will have to take action sooner or later on the issues the European Parliament raises. If EU members and Ban Ki-moon take action now they will save lives, if they continue to delay, they’ll have blood on their hands.”

The full resolution can be viewed at: European Parliament resolution on Burma (pdf)

For more information contact Zoya Phan on 020 7324 4710


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