Burma Partnership, Strengthening Cooperation for a Free Burma
Signup Now!
Join our mailing list for latest news and information about Burma.

CSW Welcomes Foreign Secretary’s Call for Release of Political Prisoners While Recognising “Momentum for Change” in Burma

By Christian Solidarity Worldwide  •  January 6, 2012

As the Foreign Secretary William Hague concludes his visit to Burma today, Christian Solidarity Worldwide welcomes his assessment that although there is “momentum for change” in Burma, that “much more is needed to be done” before EU sanctions are lifted.

Mr Hague told reporters, “It is not possible to say a country is free and democratic while people are still in prison on the grounds of their political beliefs. It is vital that they be released if [sanctions] are to be removed.”

During his two-day visit the Foreign Secretary met with government officials, Aung San Suu Kyi and representatives of ethnic political parties which are not banned by the government.

CSW wrote to Mr Hague ahead of his visit, the first by such a senior Biritsh official since 1955, requesting him to use the opportunity to “urge the regime to stop attacking ethnic people, declare a nationwide ceasefire, release all political prisoners, and engage further in a meaningful process of dialogue with the ethnic nationalities and the democracy movement led by Aung San Suu Kyi”. These steps “must be priority benchmarks of progress”.

The letter highlighted specific incidents of rape, forced labour, torture, killings and attacks on churches in Kachin State, as well as the continued detention of Buddhist monks, including U Gambira, one of the leaders of the 2007 pro-democracy protests, and continuing discrimination against the Muslim Rohingya.

CSW’s East Asia Team Leader Benedict Rogers said, “William Hague’s visit to Burma was an historic opportunity to deliver a clear message to the regime, that if they introduce genuine, substantial and long-lasting reforms, end the systematic and widespread violations of human rights, especially the attacks on ethnic civilians, and release all political prisoners, the international community will be ready to respond positively. Until that happens, pressure must be maintained, while encouraging every step towards reform and welcoming every indication of progress. That is absolutely the right message to deliver at this crucial and potentially very exciting time for Burma. The Burmese government’s words about reform are very welcome, but they must be matched by action.”

For further information or to arrange interviews please contact Kiri Kankhwende, Press Officer at Christian Solidarity Worldwide, on +44 (0)20 8329 0045 / +44 (0) 78 2332 9663, email kiri@csw.org.uk  or visit www.csw.org.uk

Tags: , , ,

This post is in: Press Release

Related Posts
One Month On From Signing Sexual Violence Declaration – No Action Taken
Women Delegates at Global Summit Use Social Media Campaign To Raise Awareness
Women of Burma Attend Global Summit To End Sexual Violence In Conflict
1,000 Letters About Burma’s Political Prisoners Delivered To William Hague
Sexual Violence in Burma ‘Deeply Troubling’ Says UK Foreign Secretary William Hague