December 12, 2006, Ottawa
LAUNCH OF PARLIAMENTARY FRIENDS OF BURMA - PART I
LAUNCH OF PARLIAMENTARY FRIENDS OF BURMA - PART II
The Parliamentary Friends of Burma (PFOB) was officially launched on Dec. 7 at the National Arts Centre in Ottawa with the membership of 25 MPs and Senators from all political parties in Canada. “This long-anticipated Parliamentary group was created to encourage dialogue and raise national as well as international awareness, for the people of Burma and their long struggle for democracy,” said Liberal MP Larry Bagnell, elected chair of PFOB.
“PFOB is now the biggest Parliamentary friendship group in the Canadian Parliament,” said Tin Maung Htoo, Executive Director of the Canadian Friends of Burma (CFOB), the organization that helped form the group. “We are also delighted to see influential parliamentarians joining in the group,” he added.
PFOB membership includes important figures such as Parliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Foreign Affairs, and the ruling party’s Caucus Chair. The group also consists of leading political figures such as Mr. Jack Layton, the leader of the New Democratic Party (NDP), the Chair of Senate Standing Committee on Human Rights, and the foreign affairs critic from Bloc Quebecois.
“The launch of Parliamentary Friends of Burma (PFOB) last week in Ottawa is a timely and important initiative in the cause of restoring democracy and the rule of law to 50 million nationals of what should be a peaceful, important and prosperous member of the international community,” said Hon. David Kilgour, former Secretary of State (Asia-Pacific) and a member of Advisory Council of the Canadian Friends of Burma. He chaired the official launch of PFOB on Dec. 7.
To the event, Dr. Sein Win, Prime Minister of the Burmese government in exiled, Mr. Charles Chong, the head of Singaporean Parliamentary Caucus on Burma and member of ASEAN Inter-Parliamentary Myanmar Caucus (AIPMC), Dr. Tint Swe, representative of Members of Parliament Union (MPU-Burma), and Dr. Thoung Htun, UN representative for the government in exiled, attended, along with Canadian parliamentarians, government officials, representatives of civil society and Burmese delegates from across Canada. Dr. Sein Win delivered a keynote speech during the reception.
On Dec. 8, a series of important meetings took place in the Parliament, and implementation of ‘Burma Motion’ passed in the House of Commons in May, 2005 was mainly discussed. The ruling Conservative MPs including Mr. Jason Kenney, Parliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister and Mr. Deepak Obhria, Parliamentary Secretary to Foreign Minister, assured the delegates that their government that voted in favor of the motion during the opposition is considering for the implementation of major recommendations including a provision of tangible support to Burmese democratic institutions and imposition of tougher measure against the Burmese military junta.
Canada to accept 2000 more Burmese Refugees
Meanwhile, we have been informed that Mr. Monte Sobbert, the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) will give a visit to Thai-Burma border in January, 2007.
Canada accepted 810 Burmese Karen refugees from Thai-Burma border in 2006, and most of them have already arrived since Oct, 2006 in more than 10 different communities across Canada.
Recently, CBC radio-one broadcast a series of feature reports and news on those new arrivals in Ottawa. You can listen to those programs by clicking the following link: http://origin.www.cbc.ca/ottawa/features/refugees/onair.html
Yesterday, CBC national radio also aired an interview with Dr. Khin Saw Win, a member of Advisory Council of the Canadian Friends of Burma. Please click on the following link http:///