Forum of Burmese in Europe 28-Jan-2007
BE, CZ, DE, DK, FIN, FR, IRL, NL, NO, PL, S, UK
Position Statement on the Role of EU and ASEAN after failed Resolution on Burma/Myanmar at the UN Security Council
The Burmese community in Europe （Note:Belgium,Czech,Germany,Denemark,Finland, France, Ireland,Holland, Norway,Poland,Sweden,England） would like to express our heartfelt appreciation and profound gratitude to the member-states of the UN Security Council, namely, United States of America, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, Belgium, France, Italy, Slovakia, Panama, Peru and Ghana that voted for the draft resolution on Burma/Myanmar.
The non-punitive draft resolution, sponsored by the United States and co-sponsored by the United Kingdom, essentially called on the Government of Myanmar:
- to begin without delay a substantive political dialogue, which would lead to a genuine democratic transition to include all political stakeholders, including representatives of ethnic nationality groups and political leaders,
- to take concrete steps to allow full freedom of expression, association, and movement by unconditionally releasing Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and all political prisoners, lifting all constraints on all political leaders and citizens, and allowing the National League for Democracy (NLD) and other political parties to operate freely,
- to permit international humanitarian organizations to operate without restrictions to address the humanitarian needs of the people of Burma,
- to cooperate fully with the International Labour Organization and its representatives in the eradication of forced labour,
- to cease military attacks against civilians in ethnic minority regions and in particular to put an end to the associated human rights and humanitarian law violations against persons belonging to ethnic nationalities, including widespread rape and other forms of sexual violence carried out by members of the armed forces of Burma.
The draft resolution would have been successful by the vote 9:3:3, where China, Russia and South Africa firmly opposed the resolution, arguing that current situation in Myanmar does not pose a threat to regional peace and security, whereas Indonesia, Congo and Qatar abstained their votes.
But the resolution has unfortunately been ambushed by the shameless veto snipers of the so-called world nations China and Russia, which are on one hand the biggest suppliers of military hardware, including nuclear reactors to the dictatorial regime in Burma and on the other hand the largest exploiters of Burma’s natural resources, including teak, gas and oil.
Nobel Peace laureate Desmond Tu Tu expressed his deep disappointment at South Africa’s vote to block the resolution, saying “it is a betrayal of our own noble past…”. COSATU, the Congress of South Africa Trade Unions, which is an ANC’s alliance partner, joined Desmond Tu Tu in condemning the veto vote and called for sanctions against the Myanmar regime. Indonesia, an ASEAN member, that abstained its vote, is surprisingly inexplicable, presumably because of its past dictatorial environmental reality.
Although we have suffered a setback at this stage, there have been many positive benefits in the process, for examples,
1) even China, Russia and its alliance are of the concrete opinion that Myanmar, under the rule of despotic military regime, is confronting many serious political, socio-economic, and humanitarian challenges, particularly relating to refugees, child labour, HIV/ AIDS, human rights and drugs, and urged Myanmar government to consider the international recommendations, listen to the call of its own people and speed up the process of dialogue and reform that would contribute to peace, stability and development of the region.
2) Myanmar/Burma remains on the formal agenda of the UN Security Council, so options for further discussions still remain.
We applaud, among others, US President George W. Bush for using his State of the Union address to speak out for the cause of freedom in Burma, whereas Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice named Burma as an ‘ outpost of tyranny ’.
The ASEAN Lawmaker Coalition AIPMC recently encouraged EU and ASEAN nations to act more effectively on Burma’s military regime to start the national reconciliation.
Ambassador MacDonald, the head of the European Commission delegation in the Philippines welcomed a decision at a recent ASEAN Summit in the Philippines to start the process of drafting the ASEAN’s Charter that would adhere to the principles of democracy and human rights, and those members that breach the Charter should have their rights and privileges suspended or even be expelled in extreme cases. Ambassador Weishaupt of Germany, which currently holds the EU Presidency, urged that ASEAN nations should be firmer with the Myanmar junta and criticized for slow pace of integrating into ASEAN bloc. The ASEAN leaders, in their recent Summit statement, said that they should take primary responsibility for handling member Myanmar, encouraged Myanmar to make greater progress towards national reconciliation and called for release of all political prisoners and dialogue with all parties concerned.
While the ASEAN leaders are hopefully engaging in drafting the ASEAN’s Charter and taking primary responsibility to encourage Myanmar for greater progress towards national reconciliation, including the release of Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and all political prisoners, the European Union with all its 25 members are potentially working to help bring democratic reform in Burma, although some achievements have yet to be made.
（Note: the most important is: ASEAN, especially Burma’s neighboring countries MUST support USA’s argument that current situation in Myanmar poses a threat to regional peace and security and thus needs UNSE’s intervention).
We profoundly welcome that Germany, as a currently appointed EU President and as well an elected European Parliament President, has issued a CFSP statement, encouraging the government of Myanmar to enter into a genuine dialogue with all political and civil society forces about the democratization process, particularly the release of Daw Aung San Suu Kyi
(Note : not missing something? were it not “particularly the release of Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and all political prisoners”?)
One of the most effective measures of the EU is theoretically its Common Position on Burma, which is a common foreign policy to which EU members are committed. But the EU, one of the most powerful political and economic coalitions in the world, has not yet succeeded to use its influence in an effective and productive way to help promote democracy and human rights in Burma. The EU renews the Common Position on Burma every April and the renewal is definitely an opportunity to send significant messages to the military regime.
We would like to make the following recommendations that should Germany and EU do to help promote national reconciliation, peace, democracy and human rights in Burma:
1) The EU should send a clear message to the military regime that they should not interpret the veto of a resolution at the UN Security Council as a sign they can act with impunity, and that EU is still able to increase pressure on the regime.
2) The EU would send a message to the regime and the world that the veto does not mean the end of the UN Security Council attention on the issue, and the EU and its representatives could play a more pro-active role in any future discussions at the Security Council.
3) The EU should endorse efforts to continue persuading UN Security Council members to pass a binding resolution on Burma, and the European Commission and EU members should actively lobby for such a resolution.
4) The EU should step up high level engagement with Asian governments and lawmakers, including China, India and ASEAN, to persuade them to increase pressure on Burma to reform.
5) Germany, in its capacity as an EU President, should encourage Russian Federation, South Africa and Congo to back the UN Security Council process on Burma in near future.