Written answers

Tuesday, 3 July 2007

Department of Foreign Affairs

Diplomatic Representations

9:00 pm

Photo of John O'MahonyJohn O'Mahony (Mayo, Fine Gael)
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Question 94: To ask the Minister for Foreign Affairs if the Government continues to make representations on behalf of detained pro-democracy leader Daw Aung San Suu Kyi in Burma; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [18697/07]

Photo of Dermot AhernDermot Ahern (Minister, Department of Foreign Affairs; Louth, Fianna Fail)
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The Minister deeply regrets the decision of the Burmese regime to renew the detention order on Aung San Suu Kyi for a further year on 26 May. The Government would again call on the Burmese government to rescind this order immediately. Not only would this be a humanitarian gesture to a woman who has spent almost 12 of the last 18 years in detention without charge, it would provide real substance and significance to the regime's professed goal of a return to civilian democratic government in Burma.

Ireland and the EU continue to raise the issue of the situation in Burma in all relevant fora, and to work closely with partners to effectively engage international organisations in addressing the situation in that country.

The then Minister of State, Noel Treacy, TD, raised the continued detention of Aung San Suu Kyi at the EU-ASEAN Foreign Ministers' Meeting in Nuremberg on 14-15 March, as well as directly with the Foreign Minister of Burma in a bilateral discussion. Ireland also joined EU partners at the ASEM Foreign Ministers' Meeting in Hamburg on 28-29 May, in the presence of the Burmese Foreign Minister, in forcefully condemning the decision to renew the detention order on Aung San Suu Kyi . Ministers at both meetings called for a lifting of restrictions on political parties and the early release of all those under detention.

Ireland and our EU partners continue to apply a range of sanctions and restrictive measures to Burma, referred to as the EU Common Position. In renewing the Common Position in April, the Council adopted Conclusions clearly stating the EU's deep concern on the lack of progress in the promised transition towards a legitimate civilian government, and calling for the early release of all political prisoners and an end to the military campaign against civilians in conflict areas. We also expressed our concerns about serious violations of human rights, restrictions on domestic human rights organisations and international human rights institutions by the government of Burma. Ireland played a leading role in preparing the draft Conclusions and in gaining agreement for their adoption.

With EU partners, Ireland strongly supports the use of the UN Secretary General's good offices to bring about peaceful political change in Burma. We welcome UNSG Ban Ki-moon's appointment on 22 May of Ibraham Gambari as his Special Adviser on Burma. It is important that the Burmese government co-operate with the Secretary General's good offices mission to make tangible progress on the protection of human rights in that country.

I can assure the Deputy that we will continue to raise this issue with the Burmese authorities on all possible occasions and to ensure that it remains firmly on the international political agenda.

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