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EU-ASEAN Summit: Amnesty calls for 'watertight' arms embargo on Burma

Amnesty issues open letter to EU leaders demanding that they put human rights abuses in Burma at the heart of forthcoming summits

Amnesty International has written an open letter to all EU leaders demanding that the continuing human rights abuses in Burma are central to today’s agenda at the EU-ASEAN summit in Singapore and the summits next week with China and India.

Central to Amnesty’s demands is an effective arms embargo.

Tim Hancock, Campaigns Director of Amnesty International UK, said:

“The Burmese government and its military, security and police forces have a well documented record of serious human rights violations. People have been denied the right to peaceful protest. Torture, child soldiers, detention without trial are also all common place.

“In the recent military crackdown, the government admitted to killing 13 people. Thousands of monks, human rights activists and ordinary people were also detained. The hardware used to suppress the demonstrations had to come from somewhere.

“A number of states, including China, India and some of the ASEAN nations, continue to supply military and security equipment to the Burmese authorities, which can only serve to facilitate the ongoing abuses.

“The EU needs to use these summits to demand that they cease all arms transfers to Burma.”

Tim Hancock added:

“The arms embargo that the EU has in place is important, but insufficient. It is legally binding, but the reality is that it exists only on paper and not in practice. The problem is that there is currently no comprehensive EU-wide control system in place to ensure that member states implement and enforce their commitments.

“If the EU wants to be firm on Burma and set an example to the ASEAN nations it needs to make sure its only embargo is watertight.”

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