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G8 Foreign Ministers Discussed Burma as Activists Demand Election Law Reforms

1 April 2010: Burma topped the agenda at the discussion on global peace and security during the Group of Eight Foreign Ministers meeting held in Canada this week.

The two-day summit of top diplomats from the eight most industrialized nations, hosted by Canadian Minister of Foreign Affairs Lawrence Cannon, took place in Gatineau as Burmese activists from three Canadian cities held demonstrations demanding that the military junta implement changes to its election laws that unfairly disqualify most of the leading Burmese opposition groups from the polls planned for later this year.

The G8 Ministers express concerns over the recently adopted restrictive electoral law, and call on Burma’s ruling military junta to “enable full democratic participation in the upcoming election and to release all political prisoners.” They caution that the continued incarceration of political prisoners, including opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi would undermine the credibility of the junta’s elections.

Meanwhile, Burmese activists from three cities across Canada staged demonstrations denouncing Burma’s election laws. Rallies were held in Ottawa, Saskatoon and Vancouver. They demand that the junta amend its electoral laws in order to make ways for a truly inclusive and participatory electoral process. They also call on the military regime to cease attacks on the ethnic groups and to start a genuine and inclusive dialogue process.

Arguing that there are clearly demonstrated connections to the supplies of arms to the junta and ongoing repressions in Burma, the protestors say that the international community should support a global arms embargo on Burma.

Rallies were staged in front of the Burmese embassy in Ottawa and city halls in Saskatoon and Vancouver. More than 50 Burmese activists and Canadian supporters attended in each event.

In a related development, Japanese Foreign Minister Kaysuya Okada was quoted by Kyodo News as saying on last Friday that Japan would not expand economic aid to Burma unless the junta implements steps to conduct an inclusive and participatory elections.

© Chinland Guardian


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