EU Rebukes Burma on Elections Plan
12 February 2010: The European Parliament has issued fresh rebukes at Burma’s military regimes’ continued failure to improve human rights and to meet international expectations regarding the planned elections this year.
Citing an array of continued violations in Burma, the legislative organ of the world’s most powerful regional bloc in a resolution on Tuesday says that the EU cannot consider the elections to be free and fair under the present conditions.
The European legislature in Brussels also issued a list of lengthy demands to the long-reigning Southeast Asian military junta. Among the demands are to start an inclusive political dialogue with all concerned parties, including the ethnic groups aimed at national reconciliation and a transition to democracy.
For the elections to be considered free and fair, says the EU, Burma must allow the participation of all voters, all political parties and all stakeholders in the electoral process and accept international observers.
The new resolution came in the wake of fresh military offensives in Burma’s eastern Karen State by the military junta, and ongoing efforts by Thai authorities to push back thousands of Karen refugees fleeing the continuing onslaught back to Burma amidst amounting international concerns for their well-beings.
Zoya Phan, International Coordinator at the Burma Campaign UK welcomes the new resolution, but urges the European Commission, the administrative arm of the European Union to heed the resolution.
“We strongly welcome the European Parliament’s support, and call on the Commission’s officials to stop ignoring these Resolutions, and instead act on them,” the official at the UK-based advocacy organization says.
The fresh condemnations of Burma’s military junta came at the same time that the EU was looking to review its Burma policy in the wake of a new US policy approach announced last year, which seeks to engage the regime while existing sanctions remain in place.