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Campaigners Seek G8 Spotlight on Burma

17 April 2010: Burma campaigners are gearing efforts to keep the international spotlight on the military-run state in the run up to the G8 Summit scheduled to be held in late June in Canada.

Seven Canada-based campaign groups yesterday sent a joint letter to the Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper urging him to make effective use of the G8 Summit as a vehicle to forcefully advance some of Canada’s international policy priorities, including the issue of Burma.

“As a host country and President of the Summit, Canada has tremendous leverage in setting the agenda that can set the stage for important world affairs in the next years.” the groups said. They argued that the G8 Summit “presents a perfect opportunity to bypass a veto by China and Russia on international efforts to move forward the Burma agenda.”

Russia is a member of the Group of Eight, but China, Burma’s immediate neighbor and closest ally is not. Both veto-wielding powers have consistently tried to block attempts to internationalize the Burma issue within the United Nations.

Noting that the G8 is the most influential international forum outside of the formal institutional framework of the United Nations, the groups said that Canada must use the Summit to convince its international partners to forge ‘a strong and cohesive international Burma policy.’

Burma was among the of the country-specific agenda discussions at the G8 Foreign Ministers Meeting last month, a precursor to the actual G8 Summit to be held on June 25-27 in Ontario, Canada. A joint statement of the G8 top diplomats had expressed concerns over Burma’s recent enactment of election laws, which disenfranchised most of the pre-existing political parties.

Activists are demanding that Canada support an international investigation of crimes in Burma, a growing call which now received endorsement from Australia, the United Kingdom and the Czech Republic, as well as, the UN principal human rights investigator.

They also cautioned that Canada and the international community judge the upcoming elections in Burma on the basis of internationally accepted rules of free and fair elections, and not by Burma’s neighboring countries rushing to endorse the results of the elections.

Initiated by the Burma Ethnic Nationalities Network – Canada, other organizations endorsing the letter include Burmese Muslim Association (Canada), Burmese Students Democratic Organization (Canada), Canadian Campaign for Free Burma, Free Burma Federation, International Burmese Monks Organization and the National League for Democracy LA/Canada Branch.

© Chinland Guardian


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