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PRESS RELEASES, OPEN LETTERS, STATEMENTS

For Immediate Release: 19 August 2009

EU SANCTIONS AGAINST SPDC ARE INADEQUATE: EU MUST BACK A UNSC COMMISSION OF INQUIRY

In the wake of the sentencing of National League for Democracy (NLD) leader Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH), Altsean-Burma, and the Burma Lawyers’ Council (BLC) urge the European Union (EU) to support the establishment of a UN Security Council Commission of Inquiry into crimes against humanity and war crimes in Burma.

The EU responded to the verdict of Daw Aung San Suu Kyi with additional targeted measures against Burma’s military regime, the State Peace and Development Council (SPDC), including new restrictions on the four judges responsible for the verdict. In addition, the EU imposed an asset freeze on four SPDC-run media companies.

“The new sanctions imposed by the EU are and totally inadequate in the face of the worsening human rights situation and the ongoing atrocities against ethnic nationalities. These sanctions reflect the political unwillingness of the EU to take a firm stance on this issue and increase dangerously the risk that the regime will consider this as a green light to continue committing international crimes,” said Souhayr Belhassen, FIDH President.

“The EU must not be fooled by the SPDC’s phony attempt to show leniency on Daw Aung San Suu Kyi. The SPDC has fulfilled its strategy to keep Daw Aung San Suu Kyi out of the picture while, at the same time, the SPDC tells the world that Burma is on the path to democracy. How can the SPDC’s planned elections be given any credence when war still rages in Eastern Burma?” questioned Debbie Stothard, Coordinator of Altsean-Burma.

In June, SPDC Army attacks against Karen villagers forced over 6,000 civilians to seek refuge across the border in Thailand. In late July, the regime forcibly displaced over 10,000 villagers in Central Shan State. Since 1997, the regime has destroyed over 3,000 villages and displaced over half a million civilians in Eastern Burma.

FIDH, Altsean-Burma, and BLC firmly believe that there must be a UN Security Council Commission of Inquiry into crimes against humanity and war crimes in Burma. It is the only way to show that the international community is serious about stopping the SPDC’s human rights violations and ending impunity in Burma.

FIDH, Altsean-Burma, and BLC urge the EU to take the lead on this issue. “This is a critical juncture that requires leadership from the European Union members. The EU must set an example for the international community and urge others to follow. With the SPDC’s planned elections growing near, time and pressure are of the essence,” said Aung Thoo, Secretary General of BLC.

ENDS

Enquiries:

ALTSEAN-BURMA: Debbie Stothard +668 1686 1652
BLC: Aung Thoo + 46 70 866 4159
FIDH: Gael Grilhot + 33-1 43 55 90 19