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European Parliament Condemns ‘Atrocious’ Violations against Karen

By European Karen Network  •  December 1, 2010

The European Parliament passed a Resolution on Thursday 25 November 2010, following sham elections in Burma and the release of Aung San Suu Kyi. The Resolution noted that the elections were not free or fair, and the release of Aung San Suu Kyi by itself did not represent a positive step forward, without other fundamental changes.

The Resolution also highlighted how the “Burmese military continues to commit atrocious human rights violations against civilians in the ethnic Karen homelands on the Thai border, acts which include extrajudicial killings, forced labour and sexual violence …. continues widespread and systematic forced recruitment of child soldiers.”

The Resolution also “strongly condemns the violence that erupted after widespread complaints of intimidation in the west of Burma, in the town of Myawaddy; the violent fire exchange between Burmese military and ethnic rebels forced thousands to cross the border with Thailand.”

The regime’s attack against the Karen and other ethnic civilians continues. On Saturday 27th November, more than 200 villagers were forced into Thailand when the Burmese Army fired mortars into Palu village, wounded a 30-year old villager named Saw Tun Shwe. Palu village is in Kawt K’Rate Township, Doo Pla Ya district.

“At a time when some European governments and the European Commission are pressing for relaxing pressure on the dictatorship, we are pleased that the European Parliament has highlighted the continuing abuses in Karen State. These abuses are concrete evidence that the release of Aung San Suu Kyi was about public relations, not political change,” said Nan Kyi Aye, board member of the European Karen Network. “However, the European Parliament needs to put more pressure on the European Commission, which completely ignores these resolutions. The European Parliament has repeatedly called on the Commission to fund cross-border aid to help internally displaced people. However, not only has the Commission ignored this, it is even cutting funding for refugees in Thailand.”

The European Parliament also called for tripartite dialogue: “whereas the United Nations, the EU and its Member States, the US and many other governments across the world have said that in order to reach a long-term solution to Burma’s problems, tripartite talks between Aung San Suu Kyi and the National League for Democracy, representatives of Burma’s ethnic minorities and the Burmese junta, are essential; and whereas the government of Burma still refuses to enter into such talks.

It is time the European Union and the rest of the international community pay serious attention to what is happening in ethnic area to help prevent further crisis. EU should put more pressure on the dictatorship to release all political prisoners, declare nationwide ceasefire immediately and enter into dialogue with genuine representatives of ethnic groups together with Aung San Suu Kyi and her party.

A full text of the Resolution is available here.

For more information please contact board members of European Karen Network Nan Kyi Aye on +4741847953 and Nant Bwa Bwa Phan on + 447739872481 (European time).

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This post is in: Press Release

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