Northern Isles MP Alistair Carmichael has asked the UK Government to raise the plight of five Burmese students arrested for peacefully protesting against the country’s military-controlled government.
Speaking in the House of Commons, Mr Carmichael asked the Foreign Office Minister to summon the Burmese ambassador to act on these human rights abuses:
The Minister will be aware of the widespread concerns surrounding the recent arrest of five students protesting outside the Parliament in Burma. Will he do what the Burma campaign recently asked him to do in relation to other human rights concerns and summon the Burmese ambassador to express the widest possible concerns about these growing human rights abuses?
Speaking afterwards Mr Carmichael said:
“I hope that ministers will raise this particular issue with the Burmese ambassador. The Minister’s answer today betrayed some complacency about the pace of change.
“The pace of democratic reform in Burma is painfully slow. The military still hold huge influence over government and a veto on any constitutional change, recently voting to ban Aung San Suu Kyi from standing for the presidency.
“The freedom to protest is universal; but it is clear that in Burma’s climate of oppression any dissent will not be tolerated. I had hoped that a few years after the first batch of substantial political reforms this would not be the case but Burma still has a long way to go – and it is up to other countries to continue to put pressure on the government.”