§ Mr. Jim Murphy
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a statement on the Government's efforts to improve human rights in Burma. 392W
§ Mr. Battle
We are deeply concerned about, and take every opportunity to condemn, the Burmese regime's violations of human rights. In April this year we successfully persuaded EU partners to strengthen the EU Common Position on Burma by publishing the list of regime members subject to an EU travel ban, imposing a freeze on their funds held in the EU, and banning the supply of equipment that might be used for internal repression or terrorism. This constitutes the most important intensification of EU pressure on Burma since the Common Position's adoption in 1996 (it already contained a full arms embargo, bans on defence links, and non-humanitarian aid, and visa restrictions). Along with a wider range of countries than ever before, we are co-sponsoring this year's General Assembly resolution, which strongly condemns a whole catalogue of violations. We have also been active in the International Labour Organisation, which last week agreed to activate exceptional measures against the regime because of their failure to stop forced labour. We will continue to keep the pressure up on the regime until they change their policies.