(No. 298 – September 16, 2010 – 7:30 p.m. ET) The Honourable Lawrence Cannon, Minister of Foreign Affairs, today issued the following statement in response to the official dissolution of ten political parties in Burma, including the National League for Democracy (NLD) led by Aung San Suu Kyi, and reports that certain regions of the country will be barred from participating in the electoral process:
“Canada is disappointed that Burma’s military regime has reached a new low in its failure to live up to its democratic promises. The dissolution of the NLD and nine other political parties further illustrates the regime’s systematic disregard for the basic principles of democracy.
“Canada has consistently expressed concerns that the upcoming Burmese elections, scheduled for November 7, will be held under oppressive conditions. We continue to call on the regime to live up to its commitments to hold free and fair elections by unconditionally releasing all political prisoners, including Aung San Suu Kyi, by engaging in genuine dialogue with members of the democratic opposition and the various ethnic groups within Burma, and by enabling full democratic participation in the election process.
“Canada has long-standing concerns about the human rights situation in Burma. We have imposed the toughest sanctions in the world against the Burmese regime to indicate our condemnation of the regime’s disregard for human rights and its repression of the country’s democratic elements.
“Canada is working closely with like-minded countries to advance human rights and democracy in Burma. We support civil society and independent media in Burma, which are seeking to make the Burmese people more aware of their democratic rights, and are working toward the realization of a true democratic system. We welcome the courage and commitment to a pluralist democracy by those Burmese who are attempting, despite severe restrictions, to stand as candidates for independent political parties.
“Canada is a vigorous defender of freedom, democracy, human rights and the rule of law.”
- 30 -
Office of the Minister of Foreign Affairs
Foreign Affairs Media Relations Office
Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada