Sunday, December 20, 2009

Concern for Burma by 442 Members of Parliament from 29 countries

BurmaInfo (Japan),People’s Forum on Burma,the U.S. Campaign for Burma Tokyo and Washington, DC Tokyo-based “BurmaInfo,” “People’s Forum on Burma,” and Washington, DC-based “U.S. Campaign for Burma” today welcome the call of 442 Members of Parliament (MPs) around the world to the United Nations Security Council to establish a Commission of Inquiry to investigate crimes against humanity and other war crimes in Burma, as well as to impose a global arms embargo on Burma’s military regime. On the 61st anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, 442 MPs and Congresspersons from 29 countries from Asia, Europe, North and South America, including Japan, United States, United Kingdom, France, India, Korea, Brazil, Maldives, Thailand, Cambodia, Australia, Indonesia and New Zealand, sent a letter to Members of the UN Security Council. The letter was initiated by two MPs from Japan, Hon. Azuma Konno and Hon. Tadashi Inuzuka, both members of the ruling Democratic Party of Japan. Although their governments have different Investigate Crimes against Humanity and War Crimes in Burma policies toward Burma, all the MPs are deeply concerned about the humanitarian conditions in Burma, also known as Myanmar, and collectively ask the Members of the Security Council to take action as it did for similar conditions in Rwanda and Darfur. Specifically, the MPs request the Security Council to pass a resolution to establish a Commission of Inquiry into crimes against humanity and war crimes in Burma and to impose a global arms embargo on Burma’s military regime. As Hon. Azuma Konno points out, “Such action is long overdue. Burma’s military regime has carried out brutal attacks on it own people for decades.” Indeed, through attacks on ethnic minority civilians, the regime has destroyed over 3,500 ethnic minority villages in eastern Burma since 1996. A recent report by Harvard Law School’s International Human Rights Clinic found compelling evidence that the military regime has been committing crimes against humanity in eastern Burma for well over a decade. “This letter demonstrates that the eyes of the world are on Burma and that we will call attention to the continued human rights violations perpetrated by the military regime. The destruction of villages and ethnic cleansing must stop. I am proud to stand with so many freely elected leaders from around the world to call for the regime to respect the rights of the people of Burma and to cease the senseless violence.” added Hon. Joseph Pitts, Member of U.S. House of Representatives. This appeal follows similar calls made earlier this year by fellow MPs from the United States, Canada and United Kingdom. On June 15, 2009, 55 Members of U.S. House of Representatives sent a letter to President Obama, urging the President to encourage the UN Security Council to set up a Commission of Inquiry to investigate crimes against humanity in Burma. Further, 82 MPs from Canada made a similar request to Prime Minister Stephen Harper and U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on October 9, 2009. Most recently, on November 26, 2009, an Early Day Motion was tabled at the British Parliament which has since been signed by 92 British MPs, calling on the British Government to urge the United Nations to establish a Commission of Inquiry into crimes against humanity being committed by the military regime in Burma.

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