3rd Burma Forum Canada - Sasktoon Declaration - Saskatoon, Canada - March 7, 2010
The 3rd Burma Forum Canada was successfully held from March 6 to 7, 2010 in Saskatoon, Canada.
More than 50 Burmese organizational representatives including ethnic nationalities across Canada
and representatives from National Coalition Government of Union of Burma (NCGUB), the Burmese
government in exile, Ethnic Nationalities Council (ENC) and Euro-Burma Office (EBO) participated.
A wide range of Burma-related issues such as international polices towards Burma, analysis on
2010 elections and possible scenarios, and the role of ethnic nationalities in the political
process in Burma were discussed. The Forum participants unanimously agreed to announce the following:
Current Situations & Concerns in Burma
The Forum is increasingly concerned that the military junta continues to ignore calls by Canada and the larger international community to show concrete commitments to political reforms. The Forum is also concerned by the ongoing military offensives, and other forms of atrocities including displacement, religious persecution, politically motivated and arbitrary arrests in the context of the elections planned for later this year.
- The Forum wholeheartedly welcomes and appreciates the official announcement made at the Forum
by Ms. Kelly Block (MP- Saskatoon-Rosetown-Biggar) on behalf of the Honourable Beverley J. Oda,
Minister of International Cooperation that the Government of Canada would continue support for
Burmese refugees and displaced persons living in Burma's border areas in the amount of $15.9
million over five years;
- The Forum would also like to express the deepest appreciation on strong political and financial
support provided by Canadian Friends of Burma (CFOB), Canadian NGO Committee (CNC),
Saskatoon Burmese Community, and Euro-Burma Office (EBO), as well as other organizations and
individuals who helped make this important Forum happen;
- The Forum also thanks the Government of Canada for strong and consistent support for national
reconciliation and democracy in Burma including political and economic measures against Burmese
military junta in November, 2007 and conferring the Canadian Honorary Citizenship Award to
Daw Aung San Suu Kyi in May, 2008.
The Forum strongly believes that:
- The 2010 elections is not a solution and will not bring democracy to Burma;
- The deteriorating political and human rights conditions in Burma are not favorable to hold
a multi-party election. This is the time to work to resolve existing problems through a proper
consultation with all the stake-holders in the nation.
- If SPDC forcibly continues to go ahead without having meaningful and inclusive dialogue
with democratic and ethnic leaders inside the country, the election will not be internationally
acceptable and credible;
- All prisoners of conscience including Daw Aung San Suu Kyi must be freed unconditionally,
and all Burmese citizens must be able to freely participate in the political process so that
the elections can be considered credible, free and fair.
- Military offensives, gross human rights violations and all kinds of atrocities, especially
in the ethnic nationalities areas must be ceased;
- Only the people and their trusted leaders inside the country have the legitimate mandate
to decide whether or not they should take part in the elections. The Forum will respect their decision.
The Forum also strongly believes that:
- Recognition to the crucial role and active participation of ethnic nationalities in the
national political process is essential for long-lasting peace and prosperity in Burma.
A tripartite dialogue remains the best viable means towards achieving these goals.
- Federalism and democratic governance is the only path towards a united, peaceful and prosperous nation.
- Any dialogue between the military junta and the opposition should be pursued within a time-bound framework.
- Respect for the rights of women and their active participation in the national political
process are essential to the democratic governance and social harmony.
The Forum calls upon the Government of Canada:
In conclusion, the Forum participants reaffirm their commitment to continue to work together,
and call upon diverse Burmese community across the globe to stand united until the people of
Burma overcome the existing political, socio-economic and humanitarian crises and able to
freely enjoy their full democratic and human rights in the Union of Burma.
- To maintain the existing political and economic measures towards Burma until all the
concerns of the Canadian government and people are adequately met by the Burmese authorities.
- Express concerns over Burma's obvious nuclear ambition and questionable relations with the
North Korean regime, and to put pressure on the military junta to comply with the international
non-proliferation treaty especially with regards to UN Security Council Resolutions 1874 and 1718.
- To reiterate the importance of having a direct and meaningful dialogue between Senior General
Than Shwe and Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, which will lead to a level of national dialogue participated
by all key stakeholders, including the ethnic nationalities.
- To extend Canadian government's effort and support at the multilateral level including an
UN 'Commission on Inquiry' of Crimes against Humanity in Burma;
- To have active coordination with its international partners for the emergence of
"International Forum on Burma" in Asia as soon as possible;
- To demand that the military junta immediately stop ongoing attacks on civilians in eastern
Burma, including the renewed attacks on Karen civilians in recent months.
- To demand that the junta cease the unjustified pressures being exerted on the ethnic
cease-fire groups to become the "Border Guard Force" ahead of the elections.
- To substantially expand its resettlement program for the vulnerable Burmese refugees including
- To ensure all humanitarian assistance package provided by Canadian government to the
targeted groups and people in need.