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UN Must Act On G8 Call For Burma Dictatorship To Enter Into Dialogue

By Burma Campaign UK  •  June 27, 2010

Burma Campaign UK today welcomed a statement by the G8, whose leaders have just held their annual summit, which calls on Burma’s dictatorship to enter into ‘substantive dialogue’ with Burma’s democracy movement, including ethnic groups. By calling for ‘substantive dialogue’ the G8 is recognising that elections due later this year will not solve the problems in Burma.

The call by the G8 for dialogue echoes similar statements already made by the United Nations Security Council, United Nations General Assembly, United Nations Human Rights Council, EU, ASEAN and USA. It will increase pressure on the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, who is failing to act on a mandate to persuade the dictatorship to enter into such dialogue.

The fact that the statement specifically calls on the ‘Government’ to enter into dialogue, rather than calling on ‘all sides’, as statements by the UN and some governments often do, is also welcome, as it is solely the dictatorship which refuses to enter into dialogue, not the National League for Democracy and ethnic groups. This wording puts the blame where it belongs.

Earlier this month The Elders, which includes former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan, called on the international community to support a UN-led effort to start dialogue in Burma, which should lead to national reconciliation.

The G8 statement also calls for the release of all political prisoners in Burma, including Aung San Suu Kyi. The fact that the statement explicitly refers to political prisoners is welcome, following a joint statement in May by the EU and ASEAN which controversially used the wording ‘those under detention’ rather than political prisoners, wording which effectively includes murderers and rapists.

“The G8 have added their weight behind calls for substantive dialogue, acknowledging fake elections later this year will not solve Burma’s problems”, said Mark Farmaner, Director of Burma Campaign UK. “Everyone knows dialogue is the way forward, and it is Ban Ki-moon’s job to try to secure that dialogue. It is time he got on with the job. It is no use waiting for the fake elections, as the dictatorship will always use delaying tactics, and dangle the prospect of democratic change in front of the international community, in order to avoid pressure for real change.”

For more information contact Mark Farmaner on 07941239640.

The full G8 wording on Burma:

We urge the Government of Myanmar to take the steps necessary to allow for free and fair elections. Full and inclusive democratic participation is essential to this. We urge the Government to release without delay all political prisoners, including Aung San Suu Kyi, and engage the democratic opposition and representatives of ethnic groups in a substantive dialogue on the way forward to national reconciliation.

The full G8 statement is available here.

About the G8:

The Group of Eight (G-8) is a forum for the leaders of eight of the world’s most industrialized nations, aimed at finding common ground on key topics and solutions to global issues. The G-8 includes Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Russia, the United Kingdom and the United States. While the leaders of these countries are in regular contact, they meet in summit format as the G-8 once a year.

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This post is in: Press Release

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