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 Burma; suggested 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:

  • 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.
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.

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.

Date last changed: 2007 September 25

Burma Watch International, 533 Buchanan Road NW, Edmonton, AB CANADA T6R 2B7
telephone: (780) 439-7555       email: info@burmawatch.org