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Councils

NEW DELHI COUNCIL - Social Democracy in Asia Today

10-11 November 1997

RESOLUTION ON BURMA

Recalling the resolutions on Burma of the Council of the Socialist International adopted in Tokyo in May 1994, in Cape Town in July 1995, in Rome in January 1997, and the resolution of the XX Congress of the Socialist International adopted at the United Nations in New York in September 1996, the Socialist International:

Commends President Bill Clinton of the United States of America for imposing economic sanctions against the State Law and Order Restoration Council (SLORC) in Burma;

Commends the European Union for extending the visa restrictions imposed on members of SLORC and their families, and for removing privileges for SLORC because of its extensive use of forced labour;

Commends the Labour Government of Tony Blair in the United Kingdom for its strong stand on human rights and for its commitment to finding ways to impose sanctions against SLORC;

Commends the Government of Denmark for its continued strong support for the Burmese democracy movement and for hosting the exiled National Coalition Government of the Union of Burma in Copenhagen in July 1997;

Commends the Government of Canada for also imposing sanctions against SLORC;

Commends the foreign companies that have withdrawn from Burma because of the atrocities committed by the military;

Commends the decision of the United Nations Commission for Human Rights in Geneva to continue investigating human rights abuses in Burma and for the Secretary-General's efforts to try and bring about a tripartite dialogue to resolve Burma's problems;

Commends the International Labour Organisation for opening an investigation into the use of forced labour by SLORC;

Commends the Government of Norway for also removing trade privileges from SLORC because of its extensive use of forced labour;

Commends the attempts made by the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) to bring about political dialogue between SLORC and the National League for Democracy (NLD) led by Daw Aung San Suu Kyi;

Commends the Government of Japan for withholding aid and actively seeking to promote change in Burma; and

Commends the State Law and Order Restoration Council (SLORC) for meeting with the executive of the NLD, and for allowing the party to hold its Congress in Rangoon in September 1997.

While recognising the positive developments in Burma, the Socialist International, however:

Regrets the decision made by the Association of South East Asian Nations in July 1997 to admit SLORC as a full member without any conditions;

Regrets that SLORC is not seriously seeking a political dialogue with either the National League for Democracy led by Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, other ethnic political parties, or the ethnic national forces;

Regrets that SLORC has not seriously used the opportunities for dialogue provided by the international community, notably the United Nations, the European Union, ASEAN, and Japan;

Notes with grave concern the continuing deterioration of the political situation in Burma as witnessed by the continued use of military force in ethnic areas to bring about subjugation;

Notes with great concern the continuing harassment of Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and members of the National League for Democracy as witnessed by the recent arrests of close aides;

Notes with great concern the growing economic crisis in Burma and SLORC's inability to deal with either the economic or political problems except by using force;

Notes with grave concern the victimisation of Burmese women and girls who are trafficked in great numbers to Thailand for prostitution purposes, living under slave-like conditions and suffering severe forms of abuse;

Strongly condemns SLORC's continued use of violence, gang rape, forced labour, extortion, looting, arbitrary arrests, and summary executions, as a primary control mechanism especially in ethnic areas;

Strongly condemns the ruling junta's use of mobs and civil front organisations to divide the opposition, intimidate the public and control dissent;

Strongly condemns the military regime's growing dependence and involvement in the illegal narcotics trade;

Condemns the continued closure of universities and institutes of higher education as a means of crowd control instead of seriously addressing the issues of police brutality and justice demanded by students;

Condemns the junta's continued use of intimidation and force rather than dialogue and political negotiation to resolve political problems;

Condemns the recent arrests of trade union activists and close aides and relatives of Daw Aung San Suu Kyi on false charges of terrorism;

Calls on the United Nations Secretary-General to urgently address the question of Burma and to make a concerted effort to implement General Assembly resolutions which have been ignored by the Burmese regime;

Calls on the Committee on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women to critically examine, question and take action on Burma's report to the Committee on women's status;

Calls on all member parties to establish party-to-party contacts with the National League for Democracy led by Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, in order to determine how change can be brought to Burma;

Calls on all member parties who are in government or are in a position to influence policy to seriously examine options for action to bring about change in Burma either unilaterally or multilaterally;

Strongly urges TOTAL S.A. of France, UNOCAL of the United States, Nippon Oil of Japan, and Premier of Britain, to withdraw or suspend their operations in Burma until human rights atrocities being committed by the military in Burma, especially in ethnic areas, are ended;

Strongly urges SLORC to release all political prisoners, and to lift all laws restricting fundamental freedoms, including the freedom of speech, assembly, association, the press, and the right to draft a constitution; and

Strongly urges SLORC to begin a genuine political dialogue with Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, all political parties and Burma's ethnic peoples.

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