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Burma: Cyclone Nargis

House of Lords written question – answered on 21st May 2008.

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Photo of Lord Lester of Herne Hill Lord Lester of Herne Hill Liberal Democrat

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Whether they will make representations to the Government of Burma to postpone the referendum scheduled to be held on 10 May because of the devastation caused by Cyclone Nargis.

Photo of Lord Malloch-Brown Lord Malloch-Brown Minister of State, Foreign & Commonwealth Office, Minister of State (Africa, Asia and the UN)

Our ambassador in Rangoon wrote to Senior General Than Shwe, Prime Minister Thein Sein and other members of the Burmese Government to put the referendum process to one side and mobilise all efforts on the urgent relief effort following Cyclone Nargis.

It is incomprehensible in the current circumstances that the regime went ahead with the referendum on 10 May, with the intention to conduct the remaining part of the process on 24 May. The referendum and any subsequent process leading to the planned election in 2010 need to be inclusive, transparent and conducted in an environment where all political parties can participate without fear of intimidation.

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