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Guest Press Release: 503 Parliamentarians From 34 Countries Demand Security Council Action on Burma (click to view PDF)

For Immediate Release
June 27th, 2006
Contact: AIPMC Secretariat:  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  or at +6012-3750974 (Roshan Jason, AIPMCExecutive Secretary). 
AIPMC website: www.aseanmp.org

(Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia) An unprecedented 503 MPs from 34 countries have today written to members of the United Nations Security Council, and UN Secretary General Kofi Annan, calling for a binding resolution to address the crisis in military ruled Burma. The letter is believed to be the largest number of MPs that have written to the Council in this way.

The move comes as Security Council members consider holding their first formal discussion on Burma. A draft resolution has also been circulated by the United States.

In their letter the parliamentarians write, “There is ample precedent for a Security Council resolution on Burma. The Council has passed resolutions on many countries, including Haiti, Sierra Leone, Afghanistan, Yemen, and Liberia, when internal breakdown was underway. In many of these countries the Security Council failed to act swiftly, resulting in many innocent lives being lost. This must not be allowed to continue in Burma.”

Support for a non-punitive Security Council resolution on Burma has grown in recent months as the situation in Burma continues to deteriorate. The ruling military junta has increased attacks on ethnic minorities in eastern Burma, an escalation of a campaign that has driven half a million people from their homes as internally displaced persons and over 700,000 refugees over Burma’s borders into neighbouring countries. Shockingly, at least 2,700 villages have been burned or otherwise destroyed by the junta.

The junta has also forcibly recruited more child soldiers than any other country in the world. At the same time harassment of members of Aung San Suu Kyi’s party – the National League for Democracy – has increased and 1,100 political prisoners remain in jail, facing horrific forms of torture.

One month ago, UN Under Secretary-General for Political Affairs Gambari Ibrahim travelled to Burma to meet with the leader of the military junta and Aung San Suu Kyi, the world’s only imprisoned Nobel Peace Prize recipient.


Gambari raised hopes after his trip by stating that the military regime may end attacks on ethnic minorities and release Suu Kyi and 1,100 other political prisoners. He proclaimed the military junta was ready to “turn a new page” with the international community. One week later, the military regime rebuffed his every request, even extending Aung San Suu Kyi’s detention for one year and increasing attacks on ethnic minorities.

Subsequently, the United States, UK, France, and other countries indicated their support for what could become the first-ever UN Security Council resolution on Burma.

In the letter, the 503 parliamentarians endorsed a proposal by Nobel Peace Prize recipient Bishop Desmond M. Tutu and former Czech President Vaclav Havel that calls for a non-punitive, binding UN Security Council resolution that calls for national reconciliation in Burma. Tutu and Havel commissioned a legal study – A Threat To The Peace – that found the Security Council has the legal authority and an obligation to take action on Burma.

The letter was organized by a grouping of parliamentarians from 6 Southeast Asian countries called the ASEAN Inter-Parliamentary Myanmar Caucus (AIPMC). The letter is signed by elected representatives from countries including; Philippines, Malaysia, Indonesia, Cambodia, Denmark, New Zealand, the Netherlands, Ireland, Slovenia, US, UK, Austria, Romania, Belgium, Czech Republic, Finland, France, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Spain, China (Hong Kong), India, Australia, Norway, Italy, Thailand, Canada, Sweden, Hungary, Mongolia, Germany, South Korea, and Pakistan.


“We, as elected representatives from all over the world have joined forces to support our fellow MPs in Burma who were never allowed to take their seats,” said AIPMC members on behalf of signatories to the letter.


“They are calling for a binding resolution on Burma and we support them in that call. It is now time for the United Nations Security Council to intervene. It has the power to pass a binding resolution requiring the regime to engage in genuine negotiations and begin a transition to democracy in Burma, through a process of peaceful national reconciliation.”


Many of the signatories retain considerable power in their own countries, including party leaders across the political spectrum. Signatories represent conservatives, moderates, and liberals, showing the powerful international consensus developing around the need for UN Security Council action in Burma.


“We have been overwhelmed by the support for this initiative,” said Zaid Ibrahim, Chair of the AIPMC and a member of parliament from Malaysia adding, “Action by the Security Council is long overdue”.

Since its inaugural meeting in Kuala Lumpur, on 26-28 November 2004, AIPMC has been calling on the military government in Burma to bring about changes and democratic reforms in the country. The grouping of ASEAN Legislators from Malaysia, Indonesia, Singapore, Thailand, Philippines and Cambodia have continuously called for the unconditional release of Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Aung San Suu Kyi, as well as for the freedom of over a thousand other political prisoners in Burma.

AIPMC has affiliate members and partners in the form of national caucuses and parliamentary groups outside ASEAN, such as in India, the Republic of Korea, Japan and countries in Europe. The body also works closely with the civil-society Burma movement and members of Burma’s government-in-exile. 

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