Canada should push for democracy in Burma

For the first time in the forum’s history, members of the Asia Pacific Parliamentary Forum (APPF) discussed the advancement of democracy in Burma today, following the tabling of a proposed resolution by the Canadian Delegation at the APPF conference in Ulannbattor, Mongolia.

The Honourable Bryon Wilfert (MP, Richmond Hill) is Co-Chair of the Canadian delegation and had proposed the resolution, which called on member states to support the principles of democracy in Burma .

“After much discussion and compromise, the conference calls on the Burmese Government to continue the peaceful transition process to democracy in Burma within a definite time frame, and to include Aung San Sun Kyi and other political parties in the process,” said Wilfert.

“It is important that Parliamentarians from across Asia/Pacific have come together to show support for the democratic process in Burma. These voices support peaceful change and reconciliation in Burma,” commented Wilfert.

“Having proposed the resolution, I was pleased that a consensus on this issue was achieved and a clear message has been sent to the Burmese government that real change must happen.” Wilfert noted. “I want to thank members of the Canadian delegation for their support and assistance.”

Canadian Friends of Burma (CFOB) and Canadian civil society organizations would like to encourage the Government of Canada to play an active role in the international call for the implementation of a UN ‘Commission of Inquiry’ into gross human rights violations, specifically ‘crimes against humanity’ and ‘war crimes’ in Burma.  Such an inquiry could investigate reports of human rights and humanitarian law violations in Burma, through the mechanisms of the Human Rights Council, the Security Council, the General Assembly, or the office of the Secretary General.

Just last week, another report was launched documenting human rights violations and calling for a UN inquiry.  Written by the Physicians for Human Rights, “Life under the Junta: Evidence of Crimes Against Humanity in Burma’s Chin State” further indicates that human rights violations in the north-western part of Burma are tantamount to ‘crime against humanity’. Please see the report at

Government of Canada and all three opposition parties, have all voiced their support for the Inquiry. Canadians are not alone, thirteen other countries have also made a public commitment to the call: Australia, UK, Czech Republic, Slovakia, US, Hungary, New Zealand, Netherlands, French, Ireland, Lithuania, Estonia and Argentina.

CFOB and Canadian civil society organizations would like to see Canada take the opportunity of the 16th regular session of the UN Human Rights Council, to develop this common approach to support the call for a Commission of Inquiry.

The Canadian Friends of Burma (CFOB) is federally incorporated, national non-governmental organization working for democracy and human rights in Burma.