Statement by Minister Baird on Situation in Burma

(No. 301 - October 13, 2011 - 4:20 p.m. ET) Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird today issued the following statement in response to the announced prisoner amnesty and the release of a number of political prisoners, in Burma:

“Canada welcomes news that a number of political prisoners in Burma were released this week. Along with international allies, Canada has repeatedly lobbied on behalf of these prisoners.

“When I met with my Burmese counterpart, Foreign Minister Wunna Maung Lwin, in July, I stressed that his government must demonstrate its commitment to reform through concrete actions. Today’s announcement marks a step forward, and the Government of Canada encourages the Burmese authorities to continue on this path.

“We note that a significant number of political prisoners remain in detention, and we continue to call for their prompt and unconditional release. Sustained action is required by the Burmese authorities to uphold and protect democracy, human rights, fundamental freedoms and the rule of law for all Burmese people, including ethnic and religious minorities.

“Canada will continue to support those working to promote respect for human rights and a transition to genuine democracy in Burma. We will be monitoring the situation closely. We urge the authorities to engage in inclusive dialogue with opposition and ethnic groups, and to fully investigate allegations of human rights abuses by government or military personnel.”

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