Canada Deeply Concerned by Burmese Election Laws

(No. 102 – March 11, 2010 - 6:30 p.m. ET) The Honourable Lawrence Cannon, Minister of Foreign Affairs, today issued the following statement expressing Canada’s concern about the new electoral laws promulgated by the Burmese regime:

“Canada is deeply concerned by the new election laws unveiled by the Burmese regime this week. While Canada continues to study the new laws carefully as they are promulgated, what we have seen to date suggests that the Burmese regime is resolutely failing to deliver on its promise of free and fair elections this year.

“Notably, elements of the laws point to a deliberate effort by Burmese military leaders to prevent legitimate democratic actors from participating in the promised elections. Reports suggest that the new laws may bar Aung San Suu Kyi and other political prisoners from the democratic process by virtue of their current prison sentences, which Canada believes are unwarranted and politically motivated.

“Canada urges the Burmese regime to move forward with electoral laws that support a genuine democratic process, based on principles of transparency, fairness and inclusion.

“Canada again calls upon the regime to free all political prisoners, including Aung San Suu Kyi, and to engage in a genuine dialogue with members of the democratic opposition and different ethnic groups in Burma.

“Canada has imposed the toughest sanctions of any country against the Burmese regime to protest its treatment of the Burmese people, and will continue to engage with all stakeholders working toward a democratic Burma.”

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For further information, media representatives may contact:

Catherine Loubier
Director of Communications
Office of the Minister of Foreign Affairs
613-995-1851

Foreign Affairs Media Relations Office
Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada
613-995-1874