Tuesday, 23 October 2007
Human Rights Issues.
Dermot Ahern (Minister, Department of Foreign Affairs; Louth, Fianna Fail)
The possibility of an EU envoy working in tandem with the UN Special Envoy, Dr. Gambari, was discussed in Luxembourg at the foreign affairs GAERC meeting and again in Lisbon last week. It was suggested that it would give support and feedback to European Union members with regard to the issue of the disappeared and detained and to determine how positive progress could be made. Burma currently receives substantial levels of overseas development aid from the European Union. There could be a win-win situation for the Burmese because if they respond positively to the entreaties of the international community, the EU will be able to increase its humanitarian assistance and perhaps its economic assistance. Unfortunately, the struggle for democratisation and national reconciliation has taken 14 years to date and has not progressed very far. It is for the international community to put pressure on the Burmese authorities to ensure that democracy and reconciliation are put in place much quicker than has been the case heretofore.