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Burma: Human Rights

Volume 473: debated on Friday 14 March 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what steps he is taking to ensure that the United Nations and ASEAN bring pressure on the military regime in Burma to (a) revise its proposed constitution, referendum and elections and (b) engage in dialogue with the National League for Democracy and the ethnic nationalities. (193383)

Since the announcement of a referendum and elections, the Government have been at the forefront of international calls to the Burmese regime to ensure it is a genuinely inclusive process. Our permanent mission in New York has discussed the fundamental flaws of the constitution with Professor Gambari, who has just completed his third visit to Burma since the crackdown last autumn. We will continue to press for action within the UN. We keep in close contact with partners in the region, including the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN), to build up constructive pressure on the Burmese regime and their continued engagement on Burma related issues. Most recently, my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister discussed Burma with his Vietnamese counterpart in London. I spelt out our concerns with the Singaporean Ministry of Foreign Affairs (18 February 2008), the Thai Foreign Minister, Noppadon, and the Thai Minister of Interior, the ASEAN Secretary-General (29 February 2008) and the Indonesian Foreign Minister (3 March 2008). I spoke to Thai Foreign Minister Noppadon again on this issue on 11 March 2008.