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Human rights violations preclude increased trade with Burma



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P A R L I A M E N T O F A U S T R A L I A ยท T H E S E N A T E

SENATOR VICKI BOURNE Australian D em ocrat S enator for N ew South W ales

December 15, 1992 92/683

NEWS RELEASE

HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS PRECLUDE INCREASED TRADE WITH BURMA

The Australian Democrats today called on the Minister for Foreign Affairs to reveal whether the Government intends to reverse existing policy and renew bilateral aid to Burma as. well as encouraging Australian businesses to pursue investment opportunities in that country.

The call follows reports that Australia's Ambassador in Rangoon, Mr Geoff Allen, advocates increased Australian trade opportunities with Burma.

Senator Vicki Bourne, Foreign Affairs Spokesperson for the Democrats said "Any increased trade with Burma would directly conflict with recommendations of the Human Rights Committee which were tabled in Parliament last week.

"International trade with Burma is prolonging the appalling suffering of the people of Burma. This was recognised by the Human Rights Committee in its recommendations on Burma which include:

. closing the AUSTRADE office in Rangoon until power is handed to the democra tically elected government

. calling for a United Nations trade and arms embargo against Burma

. calling for Burma's Least Developed (LDC) Status to be withdrawn on the grounds that the regime has spent billions on arms and little on improving the lot o f its people

"The possibility of a weakening of the Australian Government's stand on Burma is outrageous as the primary impact of increased trade would be financial reinforcement of the brutal military dictators and killers who control Burma.

"The Minister for Foreign Affairs should reveal whether he endorses the statements of the Ambassador. Any confusion on the Government's stand would be dispelled if the Minister undertook to immediately act on the Human Rights Committee's recommendations on Burma."

For further information phone Senator Bourne: 06 277 3820 W OR 06 297 3830 H COMMONWEALTH

PARLIAMENTARY LIBRARY MICAH

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