Canada backs UN inquiry into crimes in Burma

NUPGE wrote Prime Minister Stephen Harper last month urging Canada to support a commission of inquiry into war crimes and crimes against humanity.

Ottawa (6 Sept. 2010) – The Canadian government has told the group Canadian Friends of Burma (CFOB) that it will support the establishment of a United Nations commission of inquiry into war crimes and crimes against humanity in Burma.

The National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) wrote to Prime Minister Stephen Harper last month, urging him to join the international campaign to support the call for a UN inquiry into war crimes and crimes against humanity in Burma."The record of horrific human rights abuses by the military government of Burma is lengthy," NUPGE president James Clancy said in the letter. "It includes the targeting of civilians, the destruction of more than 3,500 villages in Eastern Burma over the past 15 years, the use of rape as a weapon of war, torture and mutilations, arbitrary executions and slave labour."CFOB says in a news release it received word from the Harper government through Catherine Loubier, a spokesperson for Canadian Foreign Minister Lawrence Cannon.“Canada supports both the UN Special Rapporteur’s work on human rights abuses in Burma and the idea of a UN commission of inquiry into human rights abuses by the Burmese regime,” Loubier told the group.“We will work with our allies in the international community to develop a common approach to support the recommendations that the rapporteur will present to an upcoming session of the UN General Assembly,” she added.“We welcome this position from the Government of Canada,” said Tin Maung Htoo, executive director of CFOB. “Canada is indeed responding to a mounting call from all corners - both in the domestic and international community - to support a UN commission of inquiry."Recently, all three opposition parties supported the call and urged the Conservatives to add their voice to the cause. A total of 81 MPs and senators endorsed the idea individually along with a number of Canadian civil society organizations, including labour unions and Burmese dissident communities in Canada.NUPGEThe National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) is one of Canada's largest labour organizations with over 340,000 members. Our mission is to improve the lives of working families and to build a stronger Canada by ensuring our common wealth is used for the common good. NUPGE

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