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CSW – The European Parliament passed an urgency resolution today, calling on the United Nations Security Council to take action to bring about a transition to democracy in Burma and urging the European Union to prohibit new investments in Burma by European companies.

Irish MEP Simon Coveney, a member of the European Parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee, who recently visited the Thai-Burmese border with Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW), was one of the initiators of the resolution which strongly condemned Burma ’s military regime, the State Peace & Development Council (SPDC), for its “total disregard for the welfare of the people of Burma .” It cited human rights violations including forced labour, forced conscription of child soldiers, rape of ethnic minority women and forced relocation, and stated that the recent report Threat to the Peace, commissioned by former Czech President Vaclav Havel and Nobel Laureate Archbishop Desmond Tutu, “clearly demonstrates the need for UN Security Council action”.

The European Parliament called for the appointment of a high-level EU envoy to work for the release of democracy leader Nobel Laureate Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and all other political prisoners and to “develop a comprehensive EU strategy on Burma to enable humanitarian aid to be delivered to the people of Burma and bring about a transition to democracy, respect for human rights and the rule of law.”

The resolution also urged the EU to strengthen its Common Position on Burma immediately, by “encouraging a blanket prohibition” on any new investments or loans to named Burmese state-owned enterprises by EU-registered companies.

According to the resolution, the EU should also officially state that it will not accept any outcome of the regime’s National Convention, to be reconvened early next month, unless minimum conditions, including the release of Aung San Suu Kyi and the beginning of meaningful dialogue with pro-democracy and ethnic groups, are met.

Mr. Coveney, the European People’s Party spokesman on Human Rights, said: “I hope that the passing of this resolution by all of the political groups in the European Parliament will make a strong statement that the Burma issue must become a priority for the international community. We are close to achieving success in bringing Burma before the United Nations Security Council and if this motion encourages further progress toward that aim it will have been successful.”

Mervyn Thomas, Chief Executive of CSW, said: “We warmly welcome and strongly support the European Parliament’s resolution. For too long the international community, including the EU, has failed to act to bring an end to the gross violations of human rights in Burma , which amount to crimes against humanity. We hope that EU governments will take note of the recommendations in the European Parliament’s resolution, and will bring the issue of Burma to the urgent attention of the UN Security Council. We urge the United Kingdom to use its final month of Presidency of the EU, and its Presidency of the UN Security Council, to take action to bring dialogue and democracy to Burma .”


Simon Coveney TD MEP is a Member of the European Parliament and a Member of the Irish Parliament. He visited the Thai-Burmese border in early November, with Christian Solidarity Worldwide.

On November 28, a 90-minute debate will be held in the House of Lords on Burma , initiated by Lord Alton of Liverpool . The debate, in the form of a question, is worded: “To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they will raise in the United Nations Security Council the issue of the alleged genocide committed against the Karen, Karenni, and Shan of Burma; and the imposition of an arms and investment embargo in Burma .”

A copy of the full European Parliament resolution is available at: (under the tabs “Activities” and “Texts Adopted During the Part Session”)