China & Russia Veto UN Security Council Resolution on Burma

|PIC1|A resolution on Burma proposed by the United States and supported by the United Kingdom has been vetoed on Friday 12 January by China and Russia. South Africa also voted against the resolution, explains Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW).

The resolution, which called on the military regime in Burma to cease its military attacks on civilians in the ethnic minority regions, to end the violations of human rights and to open up the country to international humanitarian organisations, won the support of the majority of members of the Security Council but was defeated by China and Russia.

It urged the regime, known as the State Peace and Development Council (SPDC), to release all political prisoners and begin "substantive political dialogue" with pro-democracy and ethnic groups, leading to a "genuine democratic transition".

Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW) has campaigned actively for a UN Security Council resolution on Burma following the publication in 2005 of Threat to the Peace: A Call for the UN Security Council to Act in Burma, a report commissioned by former Czech President Vaclav Havel and Nobel Laureate and former Archbishop of Cape Town Desmond Tutu.

The report, published by international law firm DLA Piper Rudnick Gray Cary, argued that Burma fulfils all the major criteria for UN Security Council action.

Mervyn Thomas, CSW's Chief Executive, said: "We are deeply disappointed that China and Russia used their veto against such a moderate and constructive resolution. We are astonished that South Africa, given its own struggle against apartheid, voted against the resolution. It has taken much hard work from organisations like CSW to get the issue of Burma onto the Security Council's agenda and we will work to ensure it remains there.

"The gross violations of human rights, including violations of religious freedom, combined with the crisis of HIV/AIDS, drug trafficking and refugee outflows should make Burma a matter of serious concern to the international community."

CSW will be releasing a report - 'Carrying the Cross: The military regime's campaign of restriction, discrimination and persecution against Christians in Burma' - on 23 January, which will call for the continued involvement of the Security Council in Burma.

CSW will also be hosting a delegation of Chin and Kachin ethnic groups from Burma. This delegation will be visiting London, Brussels, Berlin and Washington, DC between 17 January and 15 February.