Dr Charles Tannock

Member of the European Parliament for London

Burma

Delivered in Plenary - 20th May 2010

Madam President

What more can we say about Burma that has not already been said, including calling again for the release of political prisoners like Aung San Suu Kyi who has become a global icon in the struggle for freedom? This resolution, like many before it in this House, chronicles the brutal repression of the Burmese people led by a military junta they never elected and have fought very hard to get rid of for many years.

The way in which this junta is now cynically trying to hold sham elections such as to ensure the opposition will be muzzled is entirely characteristic of these generals and the way in which they arrogantly disregard the opinions not only of the Burmese people – their own people – but of democratic leaders around the free world.

Despite this resolution’s focus on immediate events in Burma, I urge the Council and Commission also to give due consideration to how best to support Burma when it is finally free and democratic once again. Burma will need our help, not least to develop a strong civil society and a legal system which should focus on transitional justice for the many crimes committed by the junta. That may all seem a long way away, but if the brave people of Burma can learn anything from us in this Parliament in Europe, it is that the light of liberty can never be extinguished by tyranny and that the freedom that is their inalienable right will surely once again be theirs one day.