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Release of CFOB Policy Statement: “Navigating the Thaw: Burma-Canada Relations in 2012 and Beyond”

By Canadian Friends of Burma  •  September 5, 2012

Canadian Friends of Burma (CFOB) announces the release of its recent country report on Burma-Canada relations, “Navigating the thaw: Burma-Canada Relations in 2012 and beyond”. This prospectus report on Canada-Burma relations comes at an historical and critical juncture between the two countries. Within this report, CFOB steadfastly advocates that as Canada seeks to find its footing in a changing Burma, within a changing Asia, that this country adopts a prudent and cautiously optimistic foreign policy towards Burma.

In formulating this report, Canadian Friends of Burma consulted partners and networks both in Canada, in Burma, and other regional countries. The conclusions of such consultations, and the fruits of this report, indicate that CFOB’s six policy pillars (see in the report) adopted since early 2012 remain as of yet unmet, despite the hum of change and discussion surrounding recent months of events in Burma. 

Thus, whilst Canada has gone from imposing “the toughest sanctions in the world” on Burma in late 2007 to suspending the majority of these sanctions in April 2012 — from information that can be discerned on the ground in Burma — such a tectonic shift in Canada’s foreign policy appears to be premature in terms of the principled concerns for human rights, democracy, and conflict alleviation.

Canada has to date achieved a great deal by means of its principled foreign policy towards Burma. However, such gains can be easily jeopardized if we were to hastily revert to a more ‘realist’ or economically motivated foreign policy approach to Burma. Moreover, advances made in Burma in regards to democracy and civil rights remain shaky, wanting, and readily reversible.

In light of the aforementioned considerations, CFOB has taken the initiative to prepare this report. We will continue to keep the public abreast on the outcomes of further consultation with the Government of Canada on the state of democracy, human rights, and peace-related advances in Burma.

Download a copy of the “Navigating the thaw: Burma-Canada Relations in 2012 and beyond” report here.

For related queries, please consult CFOB’s Executive Director Tin Maung Htoo at (613-297-6835).

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