MPs Table Early Day Motion on Religious Persecution in Burma

MPs have tabled an Early Day Motion calling on the United Nations to investigate violations of religious freedom in Burma. The motion, introduced by Stephen Crabb MP, coincides with the launch of a major new report by Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW) on the persecution of Christians in Burma.

The Early Day Motion has been tabled by Stephen Crabb MP (Cons), co-sponsored by John Bercow MP (Cons), Alistair Carmichael (Lib Dem), Steve Webb (Lib Dem), David Drew (Labour) and Jim Dobbin (Lab).

The motion calls for the UN Security Council "to pass a binding resolution requiring the SPDC to cease its widespread violation of human rights, including violations of religious freedom, release all political prisoners, open all parts of the country to unhindered access for international humanitarian organisations, and engage in meaningful tripartite dialogue with the National League for Democracy and the ethnic nationalities".

CSW new report, 'Carrying the Cross: The military regime's campaign of restriction, discrimination and persecution against Christians in Burma', also calls for the continued involvement of the UN Security Council in Burma.

The report was launched at a meeting of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Democracy in Burma on 23 January 2007.

CSW is also hosting a delegation of Chin and Kachin ethnic groups from Burma. The delegation will be in the UK until 26 January and will then travel to Brussels and Washington. The delegation will meet with a range of political and religious leaders including Minister of Trade, Investment and Foreign Affairs, Ian McCartney MP, and will brief Lambeth Palace.

Stephen Crabb MP, who introduced the EDM, says: "There is now plenty of evidence to show that the military regime in Burma blatantly fails to respect religious freedom. Christians and Muslims are subjected to serious restrictions and infringements of their religious liberty, discrimination and, in some parts of the country, violent physical persecution.

"Buddhists also, when they refuse to follow the regime's line, are tortured and abused, and the regime interferes in the activities of Buddhist monks. For this reason I tabled an Early Day Motion to raise this long neglected issue, and to urge the international community, especially the United Nations, to act to bring an end to the abuse of human rights in Burma."

CSW Chief Executive, Mervyn Thomas, says: "The persecution of Christians in Burma is one of the world's most forgotten causes. This persecution, alongside the persecution of Muslims, the imprisonment of Buddhist monks, and the wide range of other gross violations of human rights, makes Burma one of the world's worst places for human suffering. CSW will not rest until these issues are properly addressed and resolved, and until all the people of Burma have freedom of speech, freedom of religion and can live in peace."