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Burma: Human Rights

Volume 505: debated on Wednesday 10 February 2010

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what discussions he has had in the United Nations Human Rights Council and the United Nations General Assembly on reports of crimes against humanity and war crimes in Burma. (316245)

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether he has had discussions with (a) his EU counterparts, (b) the United Nations Human Rights Council and (c) the United Nations General Assembly on reports of crimes against humanity in Burma. (316378)

The Government remain deeply concerned at the human rights situation in Burma and we regularly raise the issue with EU and other international partners, and in the UN's human rights bodies. At the last session of the Human Rights Council in September 2009, and at the UN General Assembly in November 2009, we helped to secure strong resolutions condemning the Burmese regime for ongoing and systematic human rights abuses. We will be looking to raise the issue again, and secure a further resolution, at the next session of the Human Rights Council in March 2010. In addition, we continue to give our full support to the efforts of the Special Rapporteur for Human Rights in Burma, Thomas Ojea Quintana, who is due to visit the country soon.

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what aims and objectives he has set for the outcome of the United Nations Human Rights Council meeting on Burma. (316380)

At the 13th session of the Human Rights Council in March 2010 we will work to secure a further, strong resolution condemning the continuing human right abuses in Burma. In our national intervention, and in the resolution text, we will seek to emphasise that the dire human rights situation, including the continued detention of 2100 political prisoners, child labour and the treatment of displaced people remain cause of significant concern. Burma's treatment of political leaders and suppression of freedom of expression undermine the credibility of elections planned for later this year.

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will seek to secure EU targeted sanctions against the government of Burma until the human rights situation in Burma improves. (316581)

The Government continue to believe that targeted EU sanctions against the military regime in Burma are an important means of maintaining pressure for political reform and respect for human rights. Sanctions introduced in 1996 have been strengthened over time, notably after the Saffron Revolution in 2007, and in August 2009 in response to the guilty verdict in Aung San Suu Kyi's trial. They are now among the EU's toughest autonomous measures against any country. The UK will not support any easing of sanctions in the absence of tangible progress on the ground.