Persecution Watchdog Testifies at European Parliament on Burma Violations

Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW) today presented fresh evidence of the continuing human rights violations in Burma at a hearing in the European Parliament in Brussels.

CSW's Advocacy Officer for South Asia, Benedict Rogers, was one of three speakers at the hearing, alongside the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Situation of Human Rights in Burma, Paulo Sergio Pinheiro, and a representative of the Karen Women's Organisation, Blooming Night Zan.

Benedict Rogers, who has visited Burma 17 times, recounted some of the horrific stories he has been told by refugees and Internally Displaced People.

He told the European Parliament's Sub-committee on Human Rights that on his most recent visit to the Thai-Burmese border, earlier this month, he met a woman whose son had been beheaded and another woman whose husband had been severely mutilated, tortured and killed.

"The suffering of the people of Burma has gone on for too long with too little attention or action from the international community," he said.

He called on the European Union to strengthen its Common Position on Burma when it is reviewed next month. "The current EU Common Position is too weak," he argued. "It is essential that the EU send a strong signal through the Common Position that the regime's current behaviour is not acceptable ... The EU should declare support in the Common Position for another attempt to secure a UN Security Council resolution on Burma."

Mervyn Thomas, Chief Executive of CSW, said: "We are very grateful for the opportunity to testify at the European Parliament and to provide a voice for the people of Burma whose suffering has been overlooked by the international community for too long. We hope that this hearing will galvanise members of the European Parliament to push the EU to strengthen its Common Position."