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Burma

Volume 447: debated on Tuesday 20 June 2006

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment she has made of the reported use of forced labour of prisoners in Burma. (78096)

We are aware of reports of the use of forced labour by prisoners in Burma. However, we are unable to confirm the extent of the practice as diplomats and non-governmental organisations are not allowed access to prisons to verify this.

We condemn the use of all forced labour and fully support the efforts of the International Labour Organisation to put a permanent end to the practice.

I raised the use of forced labour and our concerns about the general treatment of prisoners with the Burmese ambassador on 15 June 2006.

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment she has made of the comments made by European Commission staff to MEPs on 21 November 2005 that a UN Security Council Resolution on Burma would not be helpful to (a) the UK position and (b) the EU common position on Burma. (78142)

The European Commission has taken no position to date on any proposal for a UN Security Council Resolution on Burma. At the General Affairs and External Relations Council on 12 June, the Dutch Minister of Foreign Affairs proposed that the EU support current US-led efforts to secure a Security Council Resolution. Neither the Commission nor any member state spoke against the proposal, which we fully support.