Aung San Suu Kyi

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 10:19 pm on 9th June 2009.

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Photo of Alistair Carmichael Alistair Carmichael Shadow Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, Shadow Secretary of State for Scotland, Liberal Democrat Spokesperson (Scotland), Liberal Democrat Spokesperson (Northern Ireland) 10:19 pm, 9th June 2009

Yes, I do. When speaking earlier about the role of China in the region, I was remiss in not referring to India, which could have done—and, indeed, can yet do—a great deal more. I think it is fair to say that the further away a country is from the region, the more diluted its influence. India is part of the Commonwealth, as we are, and I hope that the Minister will do all he can to maximise the benefits from such links.

When the Minister replies, I hope we will hear a bit more about what the Government are doing to build the broad international coalition that we all think is necessary. I hesitate to use the phrase "when Aung San Suu Kyi is convicted" when we are still in the process of the trial, as it offends my sensitivities as a lawyer, but such is the nature of this exercise that we have to be realistic and acknowledge that she will be convicted: the prospect of acquittal is so negligible as not to be worthy of consideration. What measures do we anticipate taking in that event? It seems to me that there is an obvious response: to build this broad international coalition, particularly for an international arms embargo. Everybody seems to support such an embargo, but no matter how strongly they do that, it never seems to happen. Within the European Union, will the UK press for a travel ban to be extended to the prosecutors and judges who have been responsible for this sham of a trial?

In essence, those are our concerns. I know that the Government remain committed to bringing democracy to Burma. I hope that, whatever happens to Aung San Suu Kyi, she will not be left to suffer in vain, and that everything that happens to her will only serve to redouble our determination to bring democracy to that beautiful but benighted country.

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