Burma – Human Rights


Written Answers

Thursday, 27th January 2000.

Burma: Imprisonment of James Mawdsley

Lord Alton of Liverpool asked Her Majesty’s Government:

    What representations they have made over the past month to the Burmese authorities about the continued imprisonment of James Mawdsley; and what news they have of his ability to receive and send letters.[HL638]

Baroness Scotland of Asthal: The British Embassy secured a call on the Minister of Home Affairs for Mr David Mawdsley, James’ father, to discuss James’ case on 10 January. He was accompanied by HM Consul.

Only one in five of the letters that James has written has been cleared by the Burmese authorities. The Embassy has spoken to the prison authorities at each of its regular consular visits about this, and has now written formally to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to protest. It is awaiting a reply.

James has received over 150 letters and cards, which are shown to him by Embassy staff during consular visits. These are returned to him after they have been censored by the Burmese authorities.

Burma: Human Rights

Lord Alton of Liverpool asked Her Majesty’s Government:

    What action they are taking to ensure that genocide charges are preferred against those members of the Burmese military responsible for the killing of civilians and the continued violation of their human rights.[HL639]

27 Jan 2000 : Column WA206

Baroness Scotland of Asthal: We take every opportunity, for example through the EU Common Position, UN resolutions and the ILO, to make clear to the regime that the human rights situation in Burma is deplorable and they must take urgent steps to improve it. At present there is no international criminal tribunal with jurisdiction over Burma. The UK strongly supports the establishment of a permanent international criminal court which will have jurisdiction over genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes.