Skip to main content

Burma: Politics and Government

Volume 467: debated on Thursday 22 November 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment he has made of progress in promoting democracy in Burma. (165414)

[holding answer 19 November 2007]: Following the Burmese regime's brutal crackdown on peaceful demonstrators in September, the international community has made clear that there can be no return to the previous situation. The UN, EU and Association of South East Asian Nations have been pushing for fundamental political and economic transformation, leading to national reconciliation, respect for human rights and the establishment of accountable civilian government in Burma.

The UN has led international efforts to bring about substantive political change. The UN Secretary-General's envoy to Burma, Professor Ibrahim Gambari, visited the country in October and November, and reported to the Security Council after each visit. The Government of Burma has so far taken only limited steps to address the international community's key concerns. They have releases only a limited number of political prisoners and have not lifted the restrictions on Daw Aung San Suu Kyi to allow her to participate fully in the process of national reconciliation. However, we welcome her constructive and forward-looking statement calling on the regime to enter into a 'meaningful and time bound dialogue'.

We will continue to work with our partners in the UN, the EU and across the region to press the Government of Burma to establish a genuine dialogue between the regime, opposition parties and ethnic groups as a first step towards the re-establishment of democracy, stability and freedom in Burma.