Canadian Parties Back UN Inquiry in Burma
1 Sept 2010: Canada’s ruling Conservative government is under pressure from the opposition parties to formally endorse the establishment of a UN Commission of Inquiry into alleged international crimes in Burma.
The New Democrat Party (NDP) leader Jack Layton said, “Canada should add its support for the establishment of a UN Commission of Inquiry into alleged crimes against humanity and war crimes committed by the military regime in Burma.”
The NDP is one of the two national political parties on the opposition side of the aisle.
The Liberal Party of Canada has already endorsed the motion. Liberal leader, also the official leader of the oppositions Michael Ignatief said on Friday an effective Commission of Inquiry would be an important first step toward justice for the people of Burma. He said his party believes that Canada has an obligation to advocate for this Inquiry.
“Canadians have spoken out against human rights violations in Burma – from political repression and forced displacement of civilians to sexual violence, torture and murder,” said Layton, a long time staunch supporter of Burma’s pro-democracy movement.
“Violating human rights has been used systematically and with impunity by the Burmese junta and it’s time to establish a UN Commission of Inquiry.”
If countries like Canada failed to call for a UN Commission of Inquiry on Burma, the junta regime will only be emboldened to continue its violations of human rights, said New Democrat Foreign Affairs Critic Paul Dewar.
“With no further delay, Canada should support the call for the establishment of the commission and offer its active role in coordinating such an inquiry,” said Dewar. “Canadians have a history of being human rights champions and supporters.”
United States, Britain and Australia, among others, have already supported the call for a Commission of Inquiry. Over 80 Canadian Parliamentarians have also called on the government to do the same.