EU Renewed Sanctions on Burma
13 April 2011: The European Union Foreign Ministers agreed to continue their stand on economic sanctions against military-ruled Burma for another year at the Foreign Affairs Council meeting held in Luxembourg yesterday.
In the statement, the Council meeting’s conclusions on Burma said that the EU deems it necessary to renew the restrictive measures on the Southeast Asian country for a period of twelve months based on the current circumstances.
“The EU will assess the new Government by its deeds, and will review the set of restrictive measures accordingly.”
The Council called for the launching of an inclusive dialogue with the political opposition inside the national Parliament and the regional Assemblies, and with stakeholders outside, including Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and NLD, as well as with various ethnic groups.
Anna Roberts, Executive Director at Burma Campaign UK, said: “We are pleased that the EU has maintained economic sanctions. The EU should now engage with the National League for Democracy to set benchmarks, such as the release of all political prisoners, which must be met before any economic sanctions are lifted.”
“The sanctions the EU have imposed are a tool which can be used to promote dialogue and human rights, but so far the EU has left them in the toolbox. Setting benchmarks is a vital next step to get sanctions working for change.”
The Council also stressed that it will further strengthen its dialogue with ASEAN and other regional neighbours of Burma by mobilising the high-level mission and inviting the new authorities to cooperate with EU Special Envoy, Mr. Piero Fassino.
Regarding the 2010 Elections in Burma, the Council said that it was not free, fair or inclusive, and not compatible with internationally accepted standards in many aspects, adding: “The Government should now assume responsibility for a peaceful transiton to democracy and respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms.”
Since the elections last November, the human rights situation in Burma has deteriorated, with the dictatorship breaking ceasefires in Karen State and Shan State, forcing tens of thousands of people to flee their homes, according to Burma Campaign UK.
The EU welcomed the adoption of the UN Human Rights Council’s resolution and call for an end to impunity for human rights violations perpetrated in Burma by the ruling authorities.
Van Biak Thang