Dr Charles Tannock

Member of the European Parliament for London

Burma

Delivered in Plenary - 21st June 2007

Madam President

Burma has one of the world’s worst human rights and lack of democracy track records, with people-trafficking for sexual exploitation, domestic service and forced commercial labour. This is compounded by the military junta’s severe economic mismanagement. Burma also remains the world’s second-largest producer of illicit opium.

Despite multi-party elections in 1990, which resulted in the NLD victory, the repressive military junta continues to refuse to hand over power. NLD leader and Nobel Laureate Aung San Suu Kyi, who marked her 62nd birthday this Tuesday, has been detained for more than 11 of the past 18 years. In February 2006, the junta extended her detention for yet another year. Her supporters, as well as those who promote democracy and improved human rights, are routinely harassed or jailed in a country with no independent judiciary and brutal law enforcement agencies.

Following the recent UN Security Council refusal to apply sanctions against Burma, disgracefully, the UN Human Rights Council has focused almost entirely and exclusively on one single country – Israel – totally ignoring Burma. The EU, along with neighbouring ASEAN countries, and along with India and China as well, must now do much more to apply pressure to secure Aung San Suu Kyi’s release.