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Liberals call on the Conservative government to support a United Nations Commission of Inquiry on the human rights situation in Burma

By Liberal Party of Canada  •  August 27, 2010

OTTAWA – The Liberal Party is calling on the Conservative government to support an international call for a special United Nations Commission of Inquiry into allegations of war crimes and crimes against humanity by the Burmese junta.

“Today, we are calling on Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Foreign Affairs Minister Lawrence Cannon to break their silence and join the United States, Britain, other countries and countless venerable human rights organizations in their appeal for a United Nations mandated Commission of Inquiry,” said Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff.

“The alleged crimes committed by the junta against Burmese citizens are terrible and long-standing. An effective Commission of Inquiry would be an important first step toward justice for the people of Burma. Liberals believe that Canada has an obligation to advocate for this Inquiry.”

“The situation in Burma is dire,” said Liberal Foreign Affairs Critic Bob Rae. “Despite losing a national election in 1990 to the National League for Democracy, led by Aung San Suu Kyi, Burma’s dictatorial military-led government refused to step down and continues to violently repress any attempts by the people to assert their democratic rights. Burmese citizens are ruthlessly denied freedom of speech, association and assembly. The junta is also accused of vicious ethnic repression, as well as campaigns of systematic rape and forced labour.”

“In a display of solidarity, both myself and many of my Liberal colleagues have signed the Parliamentary Friends of Burma petition for the Inquiry organized by the Canadian Friends of Burma association,” continued Mr. Rae.

“The international community is questioning Canada’s silence. Before any Commission of Inquiry can proceed, it needs a mandate from the United Nations – and Canada’s support would go a long way to making that happen,” concluded Mr. Ignatieff. “Stephen Harper must heed the call to support the Commission of Inquiry as an important first step towards justice.”

Contact:

Press Office
Office of the Leader of the Opposition
613-996-6740

Office of the Hon. Bob Rae, MP, 613-992-5234

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