Dr Charles Tannock

Member of the European Parliament for London

Burma

Delivered in Plenary - 11th February 2010

Mr President

I have lost count of the number of times over the years in this House that we have debated the serious and worsening human rights situation in Burma, but, if we are ever tempted to soften our rhetoric against the brutal military junta, we only have to look around our own Parliament to remember why we need to maintain and increase the pressure on the generals.

I am referring, of course, to Aung san Suu Kyi, the opposition leader and Nobel laureate, whose picture is displayed prominently on Parliament’s premises in both Brussels and Strasbourg. She has consistently been denied a voice, as have her supporters. So the least we can do is speak up for them from here and promise them our unswerving support in their mission to bring about permanent democratic change in Burma.

We have also raised the fate of the minority Rohingyas, who are once again bearing the brunt of a vicious campaign of discrimination and persecution by the army, and many have had to flee to neighbouring Bangladesh. The generals may simply ignore our pleas, but that does not render them any less valuable because, as democrats, we have a solemn duty to denounce such savagery wherever we confront it in the world.