November 20, 1998

Burma’s newly appointed foreign minister, Win Aung – until last week the military regime’s ambassador to London – will be celebrating his promotion in London this weekend. The celebration organised by the Myanmar Association will be held between 12.00pm and 6.00pm at Ealing Town Hall, 14-16 Uxbridge Road, London W5 2HL on Sunday 22 November.
Win Aung has placed the UK government in an embarrassing position because the European Union has imposed a visa ban on all senior officials and their families. Burma’s new foreign minister is currently in New York and will return to London on Sunday. He will be breaking the visa ban if he is allowed to enter the UK.
The European Common Position on Burma states that the visa ban will be: “applied rigorously to all individual members of the SPDC (the regime) and the military, together with their families.”
John Jackson, a Director of the Burma Action Group says: “A senior member of one of the most brutal regimes in the world is about to enter the UK for a celebration party here in London. It makes a mockery of the European visa ban against Burma’s dictators and suggests that even the soft measures currently imposed against the regime are not being taken seriously.”
Notes to Editors
1. Burma’s military regime (SPDC) is responsible for putting an estimated 2 million people in forced labour (building roads, railways and other infrastructure), 1.5 million internal refugees, 200,000 refugees in bordering countries and 1,500 political prisoners.
2. The National League for Democracy, the Party of Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi, won 82% of the seats in the 1990 election but Parliament has never been convened.
3. Since the 1990 election the regime has forced 112 MPs from office or used the election commission to dismiss them; 78 have been jailed; 2 have died in prison and 20 have fled the country.

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