Official Journal of the European Union

CE 286/49

Thursday 19 June 2008


European Parliament resolution of 19 June 2008 on the continued detention of political prisoners in Burma

2009/C 286 E/12

The European Parliament,

having regard to its previous resolutions on Burma, in particular those of 24 April 2008 (1) and 27 September 2007 (2),

having regard to the Council's conclusions on Burma/Myanmar of 29 April 2008, adopted at the General Affairs and External Relations Council, in Luxembourg and the Council Common Position 2006/318/CFSP of 27 April 2006 renewing restrictive measures against Burma/Myanmar (3),

having regard to the report of 3 June 2008 by the United Nations (UN) Special Rapporteur Tomás Ojea Quintana on the situation of human rights in Burma on the implementation of UN Human Rights Council resolutions S-5/1 and 6/33,

having regard to Rule 115(5) of its Rules of Procedure,


whereas Aung San Suu Kyi, the General Secretary of the National League for Democracy (NLD), has spent thirteen of the last eighteen years as a political prisoner under house arrest; whereas a further 1 900 individuals have been imprisoned in atrocious conditions merely for expressing the wish to bring democracy to Burma or for protesting against the constitutional referendum, and whereas it is still unclear what happened to dozens of participants in the monk-led protests of September 2007 who remain missing,


whereas, by extending Aung San Suu Kyi's house arrest, the junta is infringing its own law (the State Protection Law of 1975) which stipulates that no one may be detained without charge or trial for more than five years, and whereas the regime continues to resist international demands for the release of political prisoners unjustly held in Burmese gaols,


whereas, far from heeding the UN Secretary-General's call for the release of prisoners, on 10 June 2008 the Burmese regime actually arrested a further 16 individuals, victims of Cyclone Nargis, for the crime of presenting themselves at the offices of the UN Development Programme and asking for humanitarian assistance,


whereas on 11 June 2008 official newspapers of the Burmese military junta, including the regime's mouthpiece, The New Light of Myanmar, called for the public flogging of Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, and whereas the military junta has refused to distance itself from this disgraceful suggestion,


whereas in the early hours of 3 May 2008, after smoke caused panic among the inmates when Cyclone Nargis hit Insein prison in Rangoon, soldiers and riot police opened fire on prisoners, unlawfully and unnecessarily killing an estimated 36 and injuring a further 70,


whereas the UN human rights expert for Burma has demanded that the ruling junta investigate reports that its soldiers shot dead a number of prison inmates during Cyclone Nargis, and whereas the regime has refused to sanction any such investigation,


whereas human rights groups report that, since 20 May 2008, the Burmese authorities have stepped up their efforts to remove survivors of the cyclone from temporary shelters such as schools and monasteries and to force them to go back to their homes, even if they are no longer standing,


Strongly condemns the decision by the Burmese authorities to extend the house arrest of Aung San Suu Kyi;


Also deplores the detention of the group of political activists demanding the release of Aung San Suu Kyi and urges the Burmese authorities to free all political prisoners without further delay;


Denounces the prospect of the flogging of Aung San Suu Kyi as a crime against humanity,


Calls for a judicial investigation to be carried out under UN auspices into reports that the Burmese army murdered political prisoners in the aftermath of Cyclone Nargis;


Deplores the ongoing imprisonment by the Burmese authorities of victims of Cyclone Nargis who attempted to seek aid from international aid organisations in Burma;


Views as deeply regrettable the holding by the Burmese junta of a referendum on the constitution only days after a devastating cyclone had hit the country, and regards the results of the referendum as wholly lacking credibility;


Calls on the Burmese authorities to lift all restrictions on peaceful political activities in the country and to progress towards an inclusive process of national reconciliation and the restoration of democracy, the rule of law and full respect for human rights;


Calls on the regime also to provide explanations regarding the individuals still missing after September 2007 crackdown on protests by Buddhist monks and democracy activists;


Calls on the military government of Burma to uphold the agreement reached with the UN Secretary-General to allow international humanitarian workers and supplies unhindered access to the areas affected by Cyclone Nargis and to cooperate fully with the international community in assessing assistance needs; calls on the Burmese authorities to stop official interference in the delivery of aid and to cooperate fully with humanitarian organisations;


Reiterates its calls to the Burmese authorities to engage in dialogue with all sectors of society in Burma in order to achieve genuine national reconciliation, democratisation and full respect for human rights and the rule of law;


Appreciates the latest report by the UN Special Rapporteur, which compiles important evidence of continuing violations of human rights in the country; notes with great concern the conclusion of the report that almost no improvement has been made in the human rights situation in Burma since 26 March 2008;


Urges the Burmese authorities to enter into close dialogue with the UN Special Rapporteur and to accept his request to visit Burma;


Calls on countries of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) with which Burma enjoys close economic and political relations to put heavy pressure on the Burmese authorities to bring about democratic change;


Is of the opinion that the EU's clearly defined and targeted sanctions against the Burmese junta, although broadened after the September 2007 events with the introduction of an embargo on further sectors of the economy, are still having only a limited effect on the regime, thus falling short of the objectives sought; reiterates, therefore, its call on the Council to take further steps and effectively prevent the Burmese junta from accessing EU funding; calls on the Council and the Member States to monitor closely, and ensure the effective application of, the targeted sanctions;


Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the Commission, the governments and parliaments of the Member States, the EU Special Envoy for Burma, the Burmese State Peace and Development Council, the governments of the ASEAN and the member states of the Asia-Europe Meeting, the ASEAN Inter-Parliamentary Myanmar Caucus, Aung San Suu Kyi, the NLD, the UN Secretary-General, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights and the UN Human Rights Commission Special Rapporteur for Burma.

(1)  Texts Adopted, P6_TA(2008)0178.

(2)  Texts Adopted, P6_TA(2007)0420.

(3)  OJ L 116, 29.4.2006, p. 77.