MPs demand UN commission into Burma human rights violations

Published 08 May 2009
Over 60 British MPs are calling for a UN commission of inquiry into crimes against humanity in Burma, just two weeks before Nobel Laureate and democracy leader Daw Aung San Suu Kyi is due for release from house arrest.

Former Foreign Office Ministers Ian McCartney and Keith Vaz join over 50 other MPs in signing an Early Day Motion tabled by John Bercow MP, Co-Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group for Democracy in Burma, to express their profound concern at the deteriorating human rights situation in Burma.

The motion urges the UN to invoke the principle of Responsibility to Protect in relation to a campaign of ethnic cleansing Burma’s military regime is carrying out against its ethnic nationalities. It is being backed by Christian Solidarity Worldwide, which has worked extensively with persecuted people in Burma and lobbied the international community to take action towards safeguarding their human rights.

The Burmese junta’s policies include the widespread use of rape as a weapon of war, forced labour, the use of human minesweepers, child soldiers, and the destruction of over 3,300 villages in eastern Burma since 1996, in addition to the imprisonment of over 2,100 political prisoners. Attacks on civilians have also resulted in the internal displacement of one million people.

John Bercow MP said: “I have visited the ethnic peoples on both the Thailand-Burma border and the India-Burma border with CSW, and have been shocked by the horrific stories I have heard from victims of this barbaric regime.

"I have sat face to face with victims of unspeakable torture, including women and children who have seen their loved ones murdered. They have looked me in the eye and pleaded for the world to hear their cry.

"It is time their cries were answered and the junta's crimes investigated. The people of Burma urgently need the freedom and justice they have been denied for so long."

Alexa Papadouris, CSW’s Advocacy Director said: “CSW strongly urges the British Government and other Governments to take this call seriously and to initiate a commission of inquiry into the junta's crimes against humanity.

"We will not stop campaigning and we will not stop speaking out until the suffering in Burma is over and all Burma’s people are free.”

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