June 10, 2003

As UN envoy Razali Ismail returns home after failing to secure the release of Aung San Suu Kyi, the Burma Campaign UK said it is now time for the UN Security Council to act.

“This is a snub to the United Nations and world opinion”, said John Jackson, Director of Burma Campaign UK. “The UN must implement targeted sanctions against Burma that will cut the economic lifeline of the dictatorship, but will not harm ordinary people. We are not asking for an invasion, just that we stop doing business with them. If the world fails to act now repression in Burma will only get worse.”

The Burma Campaign UK is calling for a ban on arms and new investment to Burma, and a ban on Burmese exports of oil, gas, gems, garments and timber. These sectors provide the regime with the majority of its income. In many developing countries foreign investment can have a positive effect, but the opposite is true in Burma. Foreign investment has provided the regime with the money it needs to cling on to power, enabling it to double the size of its army.

Glenys Kinnock MEP and Vera Baird MP, Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Burma, backed the calls for UN sanctions.

Glenys Kinnock MEP said: “The massacre and the continuing and rising levels of repression in Burma, along with the failure of the regime to respond to UN mediation, demands an urgent response from the UN Security Council. It is time for targeted UN sanctions banning arms and investment to Burma, and banning the export of Burmese oil, gas, timber, gems and garments. It is time to cut the lifeline to this regime”.

Vera Baird MP, Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Burma said: “We must make clear to this hideous regime that they must change before they are allowed to trade with any reasonable country. The UN is now in charge and must ensure that the junta starts to understand that it cannot defy world opinion any longer.”

John Jackson lamented the lack of progress towards democracy in Burma since the uprising against the military in 1988. “It’s as if Burma has jumped back 14 years. The regime have just massacred their own people, Aung San Suu Kyi and the entire leadership of the National League for Democracy (NLD) are under arrest, NLD offices have been shut down and universities have been closed. The international community failed to act then. It must not fail to act now.”

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