Campaigners were celebrating today following the news that the United Nations Security Council has agreed by consensus to have its first ever briefing and discussion on the situation in Burma.
“This is a huge success for Burma’s democracy campaigners,” said Mark Farmaner, Campaigns Manager at the Burma Campaign UK. “At last Burma is starting to get the international attention that the crisis there warrants. To have this discussion agreed by consensus, rather than being forced to a vote, is very encouraging.”
It is hoped that UN Secretary General Kofi Annan will be asked to brief the Council on his return from Asia. The meeting will be in the form of an informal consultation of the whole, and be held in private enabling a more candid discussion. “We need a pragmatic approach to keep China on board, and this is a sensible first step,” said Mark Farmaner.
On Tuesday this week John Bolton, US Ambassador to the United Nations, has today formally requested Burma be placed on the agenda of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC).
The request followed the publication in September of a report – A Threat to the Peace – commissioned by Archbishop Desmond Tutu and former Czech President Vaclav Havel from global law firm DLA Piper. The report found that Burma does fit the criteria for UNSC intervention, and called on the UNSC to pass a binding resolution requiring the restoration of democracy to Burma, and the release of all political prisoners, including Aung San Suu Kyi – whose detention was extended for a further year on Sunday.
“The report commissioned by Vaclav Havel and Desmond Tutu has created the momentum has made this happen,” said Mark Farmaner. “They struggled and suffered to make democracy a reality in their own countries, but have not forgotten those still suffering under dictatorships in other countries.”