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Burma regime continues to target civilians, UK tells UN Security Council

By Burma Campaign Uk  •  July 8, 2010

The British government has told the United Nations Security Council that Burma’s military dictatorship continues to target civilians, particularly from ethnic minorities, during a debate on the protection of civilians in armed conflict on 7th July 2010.

“The Burmese military regime continues to target civilians, particularly people from ethnic minorities. The use of rape and other forms of sexual violence remain a serious concern, as do the use of child soldiers and forced labour for military use,” said Philip Parham, Deputy Permanent Representative of the United Kingdom.

Burma Campaign UK welcomed the British government bringing up Burma in the debate, and focussing on the situation of ethnic minorities, which rarely gets attention from the international community.  However, although what Philip Parham described to the council are war crimes and crimes against humanity, he failed to describe them as such.  In March the UN Special Rapporteur on Burma called for a UN Commission of Inquiry into war crimes and crimes against humanity in Burma.

“It is a very welcome step forward for the UK to be raising attacks against ethnic minorities at the highest level in the UN Security Council, said Zoya Phan, International Coordinator at Burma Campaign UK. “We need to see more countries doing this, and for them to be stating clearly that these are war crimes and crimes against humanity. At the present time China and Russia might veto a resolution establishing a commission of inquiry, but they can’t veto the UK and others speaking the truth about the dictatorship breaking international law.”

Section of Philip Parham’s speech referring to Burma:

“The United Kingdom is greatly disturbed by the continuing growth in the number of people displaced within their own country as a result of conflict – a record high of over 27 million in 2009. This is an acute problem, for example in Burma, where we remain deeply concerned about the lack of progress towards national reconciliation. The Burmese military regime continues to target civilians, particularly people from ethnic minorities. The use of rape and other forms of sexual violence remain a serious concern, as do the use of child soldiers and forced labour for military use. Protecting civilians, wherever and whoever they are, is the best way to prevent displacement and consequent deprivation.”

The full speech is available here.

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This post is in: Press Release

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