November 29, 2005

The Burma Campaign UK today warmly welcomed news that the crisis in Burma will be debated by the United Nations Security Council for the first time.

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). In a letter sent to Russian Ambassador Andrey Denisov, who is president of the Security Council this month, the USA calls for a senior UN official to brief the Council on the situation in Burma. The request confirms that the USA has secured the support of nine countries required for Burma to be placed on the UNSC agenda.

The request follows 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.

More than 200 British MPs have written to British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw calling on the UK government to back the initiative, and in a debate in the House of Lords on Monday the government confirmed that it was working hard to secure a debate and a binding resolution.

“The significance of Burma reaching the UN Security Council cannot be overstated,” said Mark Farmaner, Campaigns Manager at the Burma Campaign UK. “This move is long overdue. Burma’s people have suffered far too long while the world has looked the other way.”

The Burma Campaign UK also cautioned that a discussion on Burma at the UNSC was only a first step. “What we need is a binding resolution requiring the regime to begin the process of restoring democracy to Burma,” said Mark Farmaner. “We have had fifteen years of talk by the international community, now is the time for action.”

For more information contact Mark Farmaner on 020 7324 4710.

The letter from Ambassador Bolton Follows:

November 29, 2005
The United States and other members of the Security Council are concerned about the deteriorating situation in Burma.  The flow of narcotics is a catalyst in both the spread of diseases such as HIV/AIDS and potentially destabilizing transnational crime. The human rights situation is disconcerting due to the international security consequences of the regime’s actions.  It has destroyed villages, targeted ethnic minorities, and forced relocations, leading to a large number of both internally displaced persons and refugees across international borders.  There are press reports that Burmese authorities are seeking nuclear power capabilities, diverting scarce resources better used to address the needs of the Burmese people.  Finally, the regime’s failure to initiate democratic reforms while repressing political opponents shows the regime’s continued intent to maintain power regardless of its citizens’ desires. The regime continues to hold over 1100 prisoners and recently extended the detention of pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi.

Therefore, the United States requests that a senior level official of the Secretariat formally brief the Council on the situation in Burma.

John R. Bolton


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