Extracts from the statements of the Council and the EC on the situation in Myanmar
End production: 23/04/2008 First transmission: 23/04/2008
On 23 April 2008, the European Parliament debated the human rights situation in Myanmar, after hearing statements from the Council and the Commission.
Only the original language version is authentic and it prevails in the event of its differing from the translated versions.
|| Exterior view of the European Parliament in Strasbourg
|| Soundbite by Janez Lenarčič, Slovenian State Secretary for European Affairs and President in office of the Council, (in SLOVENIAN): the EU would like the authorities to accept the Gambarie proposals for continuing the political process; these are proposals which aims are shared by the international community and they are very broadly defined proposals; the EU regularly sends clear messages to Myanmar; among these messages the resolution of the EP on the situation on the country; our central message to that country is that only a genuine open democratisation process can lead to national reconciliation, stability and prosperity of the country.
The EU is watching closely the reaction of the opposition to the referendum of the constitution; and we appeal to the authorities to allow an open debate on the constitution, we call on the authorities to stop condemning political activists and to repeal the law banning criticism of the government.
|| Soundbite by Jacques Barrot, Vice-President of the EC in charge of Justice, Freedom and Security (ad interim), (in FRENCH) passing on the message of Benita Ferrero-Waldner, Member of the EC in charge of External Relations and European Neighbourhood Policy: the EU and its partners consider that the preparation process for drafting the constitution didn't significantly involve representatives of civil society and ethnical groups; the constitution provides for 25 percent Members of Parliament being designated members of the military, the remainder will be elected.
The EU sanctions express dissatisfaction at the length of this process of transition towards democracy, at the continued detention of a number of political prisoners and the violation of fundamental rights and freedoms; but the impact of sanctions have to regularly be reviewed in order to ensure that the sanctions will affect the members of the regime and those who support them.
|| Soundbite by Geoffrey van Orden, Member of the EP, (in ENGLISH): we want to make a sincere appeal to the Burmese regime to take a step that is very much in its own self interest, as well as in the interest of the Burmese people; to take the necessary action to rejoin the international community of nations, the policy of suspicious isolation has been tried for almost the whole of Burma's life as an independent State and it has failed; it has harmed Burma and it has harmed the Burmese people.
The refusal of the Burmese regime to engage with external realities has led countries across the world to impose economic sanctions; Burma needs friends to help protect its national interests on the global stage but even ASEAN has now declared quite rightly that it will no longer defend the Burmese authorities in any international forum; we say to the Burmese government: the world is not against you if only you stop turning your back against the world; you do not need to be frightened of the international community, any more you need to fear your own people; you don't need the 9th largest army, and the 15th largest military budget in the world; you don't need to live in a bunker.
|| Soundbite by Józef Pinior, Member of the EP, (in ENGLISH): we call to see guaranties from the government to have an independent election commission, to establish a proper registration list, lift restriction on media, permit freedom of association, expression and assembly in Burma and revoke new regulations that allow legitimate debate about the referendum.
|| Soundbite by Marco Cappato, Member of the EP, (in ITALIAN): the referendum is a cover up to be able to continue to perpetuate the trampling of the civil and human rights in Burma;
It would be a good idea to think about money that is spent on combating drugs, which in Burma goes directly to the Burmese regime to better oppress their people; through the UN offices we in the EU should be looking at that problem.
|| Soundbite by Hélène Flautre, Member of the EP, (in FRENCH): any new policy has to be better implemented; there needs to be clear criteria defined, strictly established in line with the intended objectives; our financial measure must lead to the isolation of companies linked to the Junta or which in one way or the other help fund that Junta; we also have isolated those in power, who send their children to study in foreign countries, go on shopping trips abroad; there appears to be no problem with financial transfers from Burma to European bank accounts.
|| Cutaways (3 shots)