Minutes of the 2005 Annual General Meeting
Minutes for the Annual General Meeting of Burma Watch International
(A Society For Human Rights)
April 22, 2005
1. Call to order and introduction of speakers by Rachel Bocock (Secretary)
2. Presentation by David Kilgour MP
- In a talk titled "Burma Shrieks for Change"
David Kilgour (MP for Edmonton-Mill Woods-Beaumont) reviewed the current human rights situation
in Burma, described how the government of Canada has responded over the years, suggested that it
might be time for Canada to revisit the question of whether to use the Special Economic Measures
Act (SEMA) to ban Canadian trade and investment with Burma, discussed how Canada
should respond to the possible appointment of Burma as chair of the Association of Southeast
Asian Nations (ASEAN), and concluded that
"[Burma Watch's] job then, is to continue to support civil society groups in Burma and to
encourage our government to renew our commitments to promoting human rights and revitalize previous
efforts to pressure the Burmese regime into change." In the discussion that followed his talk,
he acknowledged that a minority government may not take a strong stand on foreign policy regarding
that members of Burma Watch write letters to their MPs in support of Canada's use of SEMA to ban
Canadian trade and investment with Burma and in support of Canada opposing the appointment of
Burma as chair of ASEAN; and to write to all the diplomatic representatives from ASEAN countries
located in Ottawa CANADA to ask them to oppose the appointment of Burma as chair of ASEAN.
All present decided that Burma Watch should act on Mr. Kilgour's letter writing suggestions.
3. Presentation by Mark and Twilla Welch
- The Welches gave an overview of their experience with a short-term teaching project
in the Mae La refugee camp. While the teaching project was not entirely successful, both developed
a stronger appreciation of the educational needs of people in the camp and stressed that people in
the camp value education because:
While undertaking the teaching project Mark and Twilla met two sisters, who are leaders in the
Karen refugee community, whom Mark and Twilla are working to bring to Canada for further education
at a Canadian university. Unfortunately the process is slower that expected, but Mark and Twilla
will welcome any assistance that members of Burma Watch can provide for the two young women.
- Education is an activity of cohesion in the camps as it gives people a purpose and role in
teaching each other.
- Education is the link to the world outside their isolating camp and they need to be prepared
for life when they will be able to return to Burma.
4. Comments by Daryl Webster (President for 2004-2005).
- Mr. Webster thanked everyone for their long commitment to Burma Watch and observed that
Burma Watch International has been effective despite its small membership and modest financial means.
He reminded everyone that the situation in Burma will not be resolved quickly requiring people to
make long term commitments.
Twilla Welch commented that another reason Burma Watch has been effective despite the modest
means of our organization is our set of extensive contacts which have been established primarily by Dr. Alice Khin Saw Win and Than Aung.
5. Approval of minutes from previous AGM, March 28, 2004 by Rachel Bocock (Secretary)
- Stacey Saneky moved to adopt minutes as distributed both electronically prior to the AGM
and in hard copy at the AGM;
Mary Jean Freebury seconded; Motion carried.
6. Annual Report by Than Aung (Vice-President)
- Mr. Aung presented his report
summarizing the current situation in Burma and describing various activities that Burma Watch has undertaken in the past year.
Daryl Webster moved to adopt the annual report as presented; Mary Jean Freebury seconded; Motion carried.
7. Audited Financial Report by Phyllis Bocock (Treasurer)
- Mrs. Bocock presented her report and distributed the auditor's statement.
- Than Aung moved to adopt the financial report as distributed; Alice Khin seconded; Motion carried.
8. Election of the Executive Committee
- Prem Kalia (nomination chairman) conducted the elections. Mr. Kalia read the name of the
position and person nominated and three times invited further nominations. As no new nominations were put forward,
each position was granted by acclamation. The executive committee for
the coming year is as follows:
President - Jenny Bocock
Vice President - Than Aung
Secretary - Rachel Bocock
Treasurer- Phyllis Bocock
Board of Directors Alfred Aung, Dr. (Alice) Khin Saw Win, Saw Darlin Aung
Auditors - Jack Freebury and Stacey Sankey
9. Draw for prizes
- Names were drawn for prizes donated by the Aung family.
10. Official meeting adjourned.