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Activists Hold Seminar at Swedish Parliament on Burma’s Elections

By Swedish Burma Committee  •  April 30, 2010

On April 22, Debbie Stothard (Altsean Burma), Aung Moe Zaw (Democratic Party for a New Society) and Min Min (ex-political prisoner representing Assistance Association for Political Prisoners Burma) visited the Swedish parliament to give an update about the situation in Burma leading up to the junta’s elections later this year. At the seminar, the three panelists stressed the importance of Sweden and the EU not recognizing the electoral process or its outcome.

“This is a critical time to do something. The junta is listening very carefully to the international community’s reactions to the proposed elections and the new electoral laws,” said Debbie Stothard. “And if EU and the US don’t take a tough stance on Burma, you can be sure that China won’t.”

The panelists said that there are three concrete things that Sweden can do to increase the pressure on Burma: (1) work for a global weapons embargo against Burma; (2) support UN Special Rapporteur Tomas Ojea Quintana’s suggestion of setting up a commission of inquiry into possible war crimes and crimes against humanity in Burma; and (3) condemn the elections.

Aung Moe Zaw and Min Min highlighted the impossibility of holding free and fair elections in a country where over 2,100 people are held as political prisoners.

“To release all political prisoners is the most important question to reach national reconciliation,” said Min Min. “But now in Burma, the arrests and persecutions of political activists are increasing, not decreasing.”

Around 50 people attended the seminar. Among the participants were activists, parliamentarians and journalists. The event was co-organized by the Social Democratic Students, Sweden and the Swedish Burma Committee.

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