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Burma: Human Rights

Volume 487: debated on Thursday 29 January 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what steps the Government has taken in (a) the UN Security Council, (b) the UN Human Rights Council, (c) the UN General Assembly and (d) other United Nations bodies on the sentencing of pro-democracy activists in Burma in November 2008. (251192)

The UK has consistently supported firm action in all relevant UN bodies on human rights abuses perpetrated by the Burmese regime. We played an important role in securing a resolution passed by the UN General Assembly on 21 November 2008. The resolution called on the Burmese authorities to desist from further politically motivated arrests and release, without delay or conditions, of all political prisoners, including the 88 Generation group leaders and others detained as the result of the autumn 2007 protests.

On 5 December 2008, the UK Permanent Representative to the UN underlined the UK’s deep concern at the harsh sentencing of opposition activists at a meeting of the Group of Friends, chaired by the UN Secretary General. The UK will continue to work with partners in New York to keep Burma on the Security Council agenda.

The UN Human Rights Council has not been in session since this latest round of sentencing began, but the UK will raise the issue as a priority at the Council’s 10th session in March.