Letters to the Editor — September, 2011
covering burma and southeast asia
Monday, July 15, 2024

Letters to the Editor — September, 2011

By THE IRRAWADDY Monday, September 19, 2011

(Page 6 of 20)

These fees are used not only for registering refugees with UNHCR, but also for all our activities, which include programs for migrants and refugees, and which are used for advocacy purposes and forwarding the cause of justice and democracy in Burma.

The person interviewed in the article states that he registered with NLD (LA) in the hopes of getting registered with UNHCR. From his statement, it appears that the person in question is not committed to the goals of NLD (LA) and/or struggling for justice and democracy in Burma, but is rather selfishly concerned with his own individual needs. The only people being cheated  are not those who wish to be registered as refugees, but the NLD(LA) itself and the people of Burma who continue to struggle for justice with no help from the person interviewed for this article and others like him.  

—Kyaw Moe
NLD (LA) Malaysia

Wednesday, August 25, 2010
EU Ambassador Responds

Dear Sir,

There are a number of factual errors on your editorial of 20 July entitled “The Trouble with the EU and EC.”

Firstly, the EU high-level exploratory mission to Burma/Myanmar which was announced in the Conclusion of the Foreign Affairs Council dated 26 April (http://www.consilium.europa.eu/uedocs/cms_Data/docs/pressdata/EN/foraff/114004.pdf) has not been cancelled. The EU remains committed to continuing dialogue with the authorities of Burma/Myanmar and all other relevant stakeholders with the aim of helping the internal political process to develop in a positive manner.

You state in your editorial that missions undertaken by Piero Fassino , the EU’s Special Envoy on Burma have “failed miserably”. It may be worth recalling that the Special Envoy, a highly-respected MP and former Italian Minister of Justice, has undertaken numerous successful visits to Burma/Myanmar’s neighboring countries to ensure their support for the EU’s main aim: a positive political transition in the country. For a detailed overview of Mr. Fassino’s activities I invite you to consult his latest report which can be found at http://www.consilium.europa.eu/uedocs/cmsUpload/Report_EUSE_marzo-2010-46505.pdf. In addition to his numerous travels to the region, Mr. Fassino has also contributed substantively to countless high-level policy discussions on Burma/Myanmar at the European and global level.

Your assertion that “Fassino is known to have little knowledge of Burma and its political situation” is therefore totally erroneous, as much as your assertion that “Recent requests by Fassino to visit Burma have been rejected by the junta, however, while missions he was able to undertake in the past failed miserably”. In fact, EUSE Fassino has never visited Burma/Myanmar and the junta has not rejected any request to visit the country.

Your editorial goes on to state that “EU common policy is to maintain or increase sanctions against the regime”. This is a gross oversimplification of our policy. As the Conclusion of the Foreign Affairs Council dated 26 April (http://www.consiliun.europa.eu/uedocs/cms_Data/docs/pressdata/EN/foraff/11440.pdf) state, “the Council underlines its readiness to revise, amend or reinforce the measure it has already adopted in light of developments on the ground. The EU stands ready to respond positively to genuine progress in Burma/Myanmar.”

You further point out that the EU could increase pressure on the Burmese authorities “if necessary, including imposing an arms embargo on Burma”. I am sure you will be pleased to learn that an embargo on arms, munitions and military equipment has in fact been in place since the EU Common Position was initially adopted in 1996 (Common Position 96/635/CFSP).

You also wrongly accuse the EU of following a policy of “cutting funding for refugees on the Thai-Burmese border.” Since 1994, the European Commission has spent more than 140 million EUR for Burmese refugees on Thailand. Annual allocations have in fact seen a continuous increase over the year. In addition to this substantial financial commitment, the EU as the biggest donor to the camps has been instrumental in establishing, together with other donors, a policy dialogue with the Royal Thai Government to explore jointly how sustainable livelihoods for the refugees can be found, thus improving their lives.

You also make reference to the latest report of UN Special Rapporteur for Human Rights in Myanmar, Tomas Ojeo Quintana, and claim the EU has remained “silent” on this issue.

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