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Wednesday, 11 August 2004
Page: 26182

Senator ALLISON (Victoria) (4.39 p.m.)—by leave—At the request of Senators Ridgeway and Stott Despoja, I move the motion as amended:

That the Senate—

(a) notes that:

(i) Burmese refugees in Thailand may be increasingly at risk as a result of a curtailment in the activities of non-government organisations (NGOs) working on the Thai-Burma border, and

(ii) as a result, there is an increased number of Burmese being subjected to imprisonment, forced porterage and sexual harassment by soldiers of the Burmese Government, the State Peace and Development Council (SPDC), upon their return;

(b) calls on the SPDC to:

(i) end the human rights abuses being carried out on a systematic basis by the Burmese military, and

(ii) immediately release Aung San Suu Kyi and her deputy Tin Oo, who remain under house arrest;

(c) urges the relevant governments to:

(i) facilitate the activities of NGOs working to assist the refugees, and

(ii) not allow the deportation of Burmese asylum seekers and refugees where there is a risk to their physical safety; and

(d) calls on the Australian Government to:

(i) respond to the appeals from the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees to provide, within the annual offshore refugee and humanitarian intake, resettlement opportunities for those Burmese who cannot return to their country due to likely persecution by the SPDC, and

(ii) reconsider the policy of full diplomatic relations with the Burmese military government in light of these recurrent human rights abuses and the continued detention of Aung San Suu Kyi.

Question agreed to.