The National Convention process is not yet complete. While it is too early to make a definitive assessment of the prospects of opposition parties being able to campaign, we believe the overall process needs to become considerably more transparent and inclusive if it is to be regarded as credible in the eyes of the international community.
My right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary has had no discussions with the Burmese Ambassador about the prosecution of State Peace and Development Council officials and members of the Burmese military for crimes of rape and sexual violence. I raised our serious concerns about this issue with the Burmese Ambassador on 15 June 2006. We also take other opportunities to raise human rights issues with the Burmese regime. I raised our concerns with Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) Ambassadors, including the Burmese Ambassador, on 18 September, and with the ASEAN Secretary-General on 4 December. I discussed the serious human rights abuses taking place in Burma with Juan Mendez, the United Nations Special Adviser on the Prevention of Genocide, on 27 June and 14 December. On 15 November, I discussed Burma in detail with Ibrahim Gambari, the United Nations Under Secretary-General for Political Affairs. Our Ambassador in Rangoon regularly raises human rights violations with the Burmese government, most recently when he met the Burmese Deputy Foreign Minister and the Ministers for Planning and Immigration on 5 January.
We condemn the use of sexual violence and rape as a weapon of war. Professor Paulo Sergio Pinheiro, the UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights in Burma, has reported a large number of allegations of sexual violence against women committed by members of the Burmese military. We believe these abuses should be investigated and that those responsible should be brought to justice.
The UK played an active role in securing the latest UN General Assembly Resolution on Burma, adopted on 22 December. This resolution expresses grave concern about use of rape and other forms of sexual violence and calls on the Burmese government to take urgent measures to put an end to this practice.
I raised our concerns about the recruitment and use of child soldiers with the Burmese Ambassador on 16 June 2006.
The UK played an active role in securing the latest UN General Assembly Resolution on Burma, adopted on 22 December 2006. This resolution calls upon the Burmese government to put an immediate end to this practice and to intensify measures to ensure the protection of children affected by armed conflict.
Our Ambassador in Rangoon regularly raises human rights abuses with the Burmese government, most recently when he met the Burmese Deputy Foreign Minister and the Ministers for Planning and Immigration on 5 January.
I have also raised human rights issues in Burma with the Governments of China, India, South Korea, Japan and Thailand.
My right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary has had no discussions with the Burmese Ambassador.
I issued a statement on 19 October 2006 expressing my concern about the death of Ko Thet Win Aung. I called on the Burmese government to initiate an immediate investigation into the death and to allow independent bodies to monitor the conditions in Burma’s prisons. Our Ambassador in Rangoon reinforced these points with the Minister of Home Affairs on 23 October 2006. The German Ambassador in Rangoon, as local EU Presidency, carried out a démarche the same day on the Burmese regime regarding the death of Ko Thet Win Aung. The German Ambassador expressed the EU’s serious concern about the case and reminded the Burmese government that the EU had repeatedly called for the release of Ko Thet Win Aung and reiterated the call for an independent investigation into the matter.