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Burma Day 2005 - Selected Documents
Supporting Burma/Myanmar's National Reconciliation Process - Challenges and Opportunities... Brussels, Tuesday 5th April 2005... These papers and reports focus on the "Independent Report" written for the conference by Robert Taylor and Morten Pedersen. They range from macroeconomic critique to historical and procedural comment.

Individual Documents

Title: Sanctions Stay but Aid Needed
Date of publication: 07 April 2005
Description/subject: "The EU on Tuesday rejected suggestions it was softening its stance on dealing with the military junta in Burma, but said the bloc’s governments were determined to come to the aid of the country’s long-suffering population..."
Author/creator: Shada Islam
Language: English
Source/publisher: "The Irrawaddy"
Format/size: html
Date of entry/update: 07 April 2005


Title: Burma Day 2005: Comments by Harn Yawnghwe, Director, Euro-Burma Office
Date of publication: 05 April 2005
Description/subject: "...I would like to state from the onset that I am very disappointed that a valuable opportunity to help the people of Burma was wasted. Robert Taylor and Morten Pedersen could have seriously explored policy options and recommended innovative ways to support the reconciliation process in Burma. Instead, the report has repeated old arguments against sanctions and have needlessly incited a controversy. This controversy has the potential to derail the focus of the meeting, namely, how to deliver humanitarian assistance to the people of Burma. If this happened, the losers would be the people of Burma..."
Author/creator: Harn Yawnghwe
Language: English
Source/publisher: Euro-Burma Office
Format/size: html (65K), Word (49K)
Alternate URLs: http://www.ibiblio.org/obl/docs3/Burma_Day-Harn.doc
Date of entry/update: 06 April 2005


Title: Burma Day 2005: Conference Agenda
Date of publication: 05 April 2005
Language: English
Source/publisher: European Commission
Format/size: html (18K)
Date of entry/update: 06 April 2005


Title: Burma Day 2005: NGO Perspective on Assistance in Burma/Burma/Myanmar
Date of publication: 05 April 2005
Description/subject: EC "Burma Day 2005" Conference, April 5th 2005, Brussels...Summary Conclusions: 1. INGO function independently in accordance with principles of humanitarian work; 2. The space for us to do so has improved significantly over the years, even if there are still problems; 3. We can go to scale in delivering significant services and other benefits to the poor in most of the country; 4. We can interact productively with health professionals in the civil service and facilitate significant positive change in the sectoral policy environment; 5. The small-scale independent private sector is a powerful partner in going to scale; 6. While significant, the scale and scope of our activities is small relative to need, especially if we compare with other countries; 7. The EU should increase the amount and scope of aid to Burma/Myanmar; 8. Health should continue to be an area of priority for EC assistance; 9. The aid should be delivered in a way that maximises the role of civil society and the private sector, while retaining an appropriate role for government; 10. The EC should directly manage the aid programme and maintain the highest standards of performance expectations and accountability.
Author/creator: Guy Stallworthy
Language: English
Source/publisher: opulation Services International
Format/size: html (18K)
Date of entry/update: 09 June 2005


Title: Burma Day: Australia's Human Rights Initiative 2000-2003 - A Brief Case Study
Date of publication: 05 April 2005
Description/subject: PRESENTATION TO EU “BURMA DAY” Brussels, 5 April 2005 BY FORMER AUSTRALIAN AMBASSADOR TO MYANMAR, TREVOR WILSON... "AUSTRALIA’S HUMAN RIGHTS INITIATIVE 2000-2003 A BRIEF CASE STUDY"
Author/creator: Trevor Wilson
Language: English
Source/publisher: Trevor Wilson
Format/size: html (26K), Word (40K)
Alternate URLs: http://www.ibiblio.org/obl/docs3/Burma_Day-Trevor_Wilson.doc
Date of entry/update: 11 April 2005


Title: Burma/Myanmar Day: Keynote Speech
Date of publication: 05 April 2005
Description/subject: Burma/Myanmar Day: Brussels, 5 April 2005... "National Reconciliation and Foreign Assistance – The Future of The People Is Our Challenge" by Mr Hervé Jouanjean, Deputy Director General (External Relations) European Commission..."...The overall political picture shows a government, which for decades has isolated itself and the country. In its desire to convey its criticism, the international community has compounded that isolation. The population has been the permanent victim of the situation. At the same time, Burma/Myanmar enjoys fairly stable political and economic relationships in the immediate neighbourhood in particular with China and India. This helps the military regime to resist the consequences of economic sanctions. ASEAN has been - at least in public diplomacy – a faithful supporter of a soft approach towards Burma/Myanmar. More recently though, old members of ASEAN are becoming more critical notably with the prospect of Burma/Myanmar taking over the chair of the organisation in 2006. While welcoming this new attitude of some ASEAN members, we do not know to what extent ASEAN is prepared to challenge its own unity on the Burmese question and how effective ASEAN pressure on the military regime can be if Burma/Myanmar continues to enjoy the comfort zone provided by China and India...There has been quite some discussion about this report; let me underline that the Commission requested and financed this report - but the report’s conclusions and recommendations are the authors’ own and should be seen as an input to an on-going debate..."
Author/creator: Mr Hervé Jouanjean
Language: English
Source/publisher: European Commission
Format/size: html (130K), Word (133K)
Alternate URLs: http://www.ibiblio.org/obl/docs3/Burma_Day_KeyNote_Speech.doc
Date of entry/update: 07 April 2005


Title: E.U. holds aid meeting on Myanmar, denies charges of softer line
Date of publication: 05 April 2005
Description/subject: "The European Commission on Tuesday rejected charges it was softening its stance on dealing with the military junta in Myanmar as officials convened a meeting of international aid experts to discuss stepped-up assistance to the country..."
Language: English
Source/publisher: Deutsche Presse-Agentur
Format/size: html (11K)
Date of entry/update: 06 April 2005


Title: MACROECONOMIC POLICY DIALOGUE WITH MYANMAR: CHALLENGES AND OPPORTUNITIES
Date of publication: 05 April 2005
Description/subject: EUROPEAN COMMISSION BURMA/MYANMAR CONFERENCE 2005... "I am grateful to the organizers of this conference for the invitation to make this presentation on challenges and opportunities for macroeconomic policy dialogue with Myanmar. I must confess that this is a somewhat humbling task, as the track record for decades has by and large been dismal. And I am afraid that we need to admit that a meaningful dialogue on economic policies has never been a high priority either for the government or, honestly speaking, for the democracy movement or the international community. I do believe that a hard look at the past is needed to face up to these realities, and that for the sake of the 50 million people who live in Myanmar, we need to try our best to find a way to stimulate fresh ideas and ways to promote cooperation on economic policy matters. What I would like to do to frame our discussion this afternoon, is first to try to draw some lessons from the initiatives that were taken over the past 15 years, then to make the case why economic policy dialogue should be given high priority now, and finally to suggest some approaches that might be pursued. I hope that this might contribute to the discussions underway in the European Commission about future engagement strategy..."
Author/creator: Bradley O. Babson
Language: English
Source/publisher: Bradley O. Babson
Format/size: html (27K), Word (41K)
Alternate URLs: http://www.ibiblio.org/obl/docs3/Burma_Day-BradBabson.doc
Date of entry/update: 29 April 2005


Title: NCGUB’s Comments on the Burma Day Event in Brussels
Date of publication: 05 April 2005
Description/subject: "The National Coalition Government of the Union of Burma (NCGUB) is disturbed by the way the European Commission has organized the Panel on Burma on the 5th April. The composition of the panel is questionable since most of the panelists are known as apologists for the regime as demonstrated by their stand against any kind of international pressure through political, diplomatic or economic means. It is absurd that neither elected representatives of the 1990 general elections nor Civil Society groups in Europe appear on the panel. Analysis of the "independent" report which is the focal point of the conference, reveals a multitude of flaws and subjective conclusions. The thesis put forward is that the Burma Army is the only strong and united institution in Burma, that it consists of patriotic military personal keen on preserving the stability of the country and building a modern and prosperous nation. The report portrays them as a progressive force able to lead in taking initiatives for political and economic reform. Since the Burmese military is determined to exclude the leaders of the democratic forces from the nation-building process and pursue any policy direction they deem appropriate at their own speed, the authors claim that the only option for international actors is to engage the regime and encourage them to carry out gradual reforms. Trade and aid is suggested as the main policy tool to normalize relations with the Burmese military regime and encourage gradual reforms in various sectors..."
Language: English
Source/publisher: NCGUB
Format/size: html (45K)
Date of entry/update: 06 April 2005


Title: ROBERT H. TAYLOR’S SPEAKERS NOTES WHEN PRESENTING THE REPORT
Date of publication: 05 April 2005
Language: English
Source/publisher: Robert Taylor
Format/size: html (71K)
Date of entry/update: 08 April 2005


Title: Statement from Mr Simon Coveney MEP
Date of publication: 05 April 2005
Description/subject: Statement from Mr Simon Coveney MEP on European Commission Conference on "supporting Burma/Myanmar's National Reconciliation Process" being held to day in Brussels, 5 April - Burma Day. The European Commission Conference on "Supporting Burma/Myanmar's National Reconciliation Process" being held to-day (April 5-Burma Day) in Brussels must not signal a weakening in the European Union's resolve to seek to end the grip of the military junta in Burma.
Author/creator: Mr Simon Coveney MEP
Language: English
Source/publisher: Mr Simon Coveney MEP
Format/size: html (12K)
Date of entry/update: 06 April 2005


Title: UNPO Appeals Barroso to Keep Sanctions on Burma Regime
Date of publication: 05 April 2005
Description/subject: Burma: Open Letter to the European Commission on the "Independent" Report Supporting Burma/Myanmar’s National Reconciliation Process: Challenges And Opportunities”, PRESENTED ON THE OCCASION OF THE “BURMA DAY 2005”... Open letter to: Benita Ferrero-Waldner, European Commissioner for the External Relations Josè Manuel Barroso, President of the European Commission And to the Members of the European Parliament 5 April 2005 Commissioner Ferrero-Waldner, President Barroso, We are disconcerted and worried by the news that the European Commission is currently considering an independent report on Burma recommending that Europe restore diplomatic and economic relations with the Rangoon regime, as well as recommence foreign aid programs..."
Language: English
Source/publisher: UNPO
Format/size: html
Alternate URLs: http://www.unpo.org/content/view/2276/236/
Date of entry/update: 04 July 2010


Title: EU Burma meeting a sham
Date of publication: 04 April 2005
Description/subject: Democracy groups banned from meeting... MEPs demand enquiry... "The Burma Campaign UK today condemned the European Commission for banning pro-democracy organisations from a European Union conference on democracy in Burma. EU ‘Burma Day’, held in Brussels on Tuesday 5th April, is meant to be discussing prospects for democratic change in military run Burma. Instead the Commission has packed the conference with anti-sanctions lobbyists, and banned Burmese activists and democracy organisations from taking part. Glenys Kinnock MEP called for the meeting to be abandoned. "I am deeply concerned that the Commission has organised a meeting on democracy in Burma in such an anti-democratic and blatantly biased manner. This initiative does, it seems, represent a clear shift in the EC's position on Burma and does not reflect the agreed position of the Council of the EU or of the European Parliament. This meeting should be abandoned and an enquiry held into its organisation. We deserve an explanation of why a small and unrepresentative band of anti-sanctions lobbyists have been given free reign, while at the same time pro-democracy groups and the Burmese community have been excluded. A belated invitation to the Director of the Euro-Burma Office to take part in a panel discussion reflects, in my view, a wish to provide the Commission with a fig leaf to cover what are crass and unacceptable proposals to engage with the military junta in Rangoon."..."
Language: English
Source/publisher: Burma Campaign UK
Format/size: html
Date of entry/update: 01 May 2005


Title: Independent report challenges Europe to reassess Myanmar
Date of publication: 03 April 2005
Description/subject: By Editor-in-Chief Ross Dunkley... "STARTING with the recognition of Myanmar as the official name of the country, a powerful and compelling independent report commissioned by the European Union has called for an alternative, sweeping approach on how best to help Myanmar achieve national reconciliation, develop its economy and build a civil society. Its backbone emanates from recognition that the EU’s strategy in the past 15 years has been a failure - that now is the opportune time to move away from a US-led ideology based on isolation and sanctions which have had negative effects on the Myanmar people and society. The report challenges the EU to take the unique opportunity and lead a renewed and more effective effort to help Myanmar fulfil its aspiration for a freer and better life. It also highlights the vital importance of governance and economic factors in generating the conditions for a sustainable political opening toward a more democratic society..."
Author/creator: Ross Dunkley
Language: English
Source/publisher: "Myanmar Times"
Format/size: html
Date of entry/update: 07 April 2005


Title: Some Talking Points Regarding Economics, and the ‘Independent Report’ for the EC
Date of publication: 03 April 2005
Description/subject: "In the following, we review certain economic aspects of Supporting Burma/Myanmar’s National Reconciliation Process: Challenges and Opportunities, a self-labelled ‘Independent Report’ prepared for the European Commission by Professor Robert Taylor and Mr Morten Pedersen. We largely confine our comments to economic considerations, but within this sphere we find that the Report has numerous and severe limitations. Due largely to a scarcity of time, our comments are to a certain extent preliminary, and will be developed further in a subsequent issue of BEW that will address this and other recent reports on Burma’s economy. Feel free to use the following in ways you find useful, though for academic purposes we regard this ‘review’ as very much a ‘working draft’ at present. Of course, we welcome comments. We can be contacted, as always, at BEW@efs.mq.edu.au Website http://www.econ.mq.edu.au/BurmaEconomicWatch
Language: English
Source/publisher: Burma Economic Watch
Format/size: html, (65K), Word (75K)
Alternate URLs: http://www.ibiblio.org/obl/docs3/Burma_Day-BEW.doc
Date of entry/update: 06 April 2005


Title: Burma Day: ICFTU - Letter to Commissioner Benita Ferrero-Waldner; correspondence with Derek Tonkin
Date of publication: 02 April 2005
Description/subject: "Dear Commissioner Ferrero-Waldner The ETUC, ICFTU and WCL are writing to you on the subject of the “Burma Day 2005” being organized on 5 April by the European Commission. We would like to preface our remarks by emphasizing that we applaud your commitment to democracy, human rights and the rule of law as essential building blocks for regional security, which you articulated in Jakarta on 10 March 2005 in the context of EU-ASEAN relations. We share your view that Burma is a serious security threat because it is the exception to the regional trend of democratization and integration. We are therefore surprised by the way in which the European Commission has organized Burma Day 2005 on 5 April, and are writing to express our concern, particularly by comparison with earlier such EU initiatives. For instance, Burma Day 2003 was an excellent opportunity for the Commission and stakeholders - foreign ministries, aid agencies, non-government organizations and Burmese groups - to have a dialogue on the need to deliver humanitarian aid to the people of Burma despite the political roadblocks. We had understood that Burma Day 2005, would further look at how humanitarian aid could be delivered and used to strengthen civil society in Burma. We would have welcomed such an initiative. We were therefore deeply concerned when we learned that Robert Taylor and Morten Pedersen had been commissioned to deliver a report titled 'Supporting Burma/Myanmar's National Reconciliation Process - Challenges and Opportunities". Neither has any experience in delivering humanitarian aid or working with civil society in Burma..."
Language: English
Source/publisher: ETUC, ICFTU and WCL
Format/size: html (36K), Word (53K)
Alternate URLs: http://www.ibiblio.org/obl/docs3/Burma_Day-ICFTU.doc
http://www.ibiblio.org/obl/docs3/Burma_Day-ICFTU.htm
Date of entry/update: 01 December 2010


Title: Letter from Prof. Robert H. Taylor to Commissioner Benita Ferrero-Waldne plus Bob Taylor's CV
Date of publication: 02 April 2005
Description/subject: "...Our report does not, as alleged, call for the removal of EU sanctions. Such an act at this time would indeed be counter-productive. We do suggest, however, that the EU Common Position on Burma/Myanmar would be more effective if the sanctions were refined, given clear benchmarks, and directed at what hurts the regime and not the people. I enclose an abridged CV for your information."
Author/creator: Prof. Robert H. Taylor
Language: English
Source/publisher: Prof. Robert H. Taylor
Format/size: html (58K)
Date of entry/update: 08 April 2005


Title: HUMAN RIGHTS GROUP SLAMS "INDEPENDENT" REPORT AS ANTI-DEMOCRATIC
Date of publication: 01 April 2005
Description/subject: "The Alternative ASEAN Network on Burma (Altsean-Burma) urges the European Commission to reject an "independent" report on Burma for being anti-democratic and claiming that democracy will not benefit the country. In addition, the human rights group also calls for the EC to postpone its April 5 Burma Day event until it is redesigned to be inclusive and representative. The report and the Burma Day event, to be held in Brussels, has attracted growing opposition from pro-democracy groups around the world. The "independent" report for the European Commission titled "Supporting Burma/Myanmar's National Reconciliation Process: Challenges and Opportunities" dated January 2005 essentially argues that democracy will not benefit Burma. Such a bizarre claim flouts the proven desire of the people of Burma for democracy and commensurate economic reform. Ironically, this push to erode the EU's commitment to democracy in Burma takes place when support for Burmese democracy is growing in Southeast Asia..."
Language: English
Source/publisher: Altsean-Burma
Format/size: html (32K)
Date of entry/update: 06 April 2005


Title: The Brussels Follies
Date of publication: April 2005
Description/subject: "The European Commission raises eyebrows by commissioning two “Burma experts,” known for their military regime sympathy, to write a report for a Brussels meeting. European officials had to do a lot of not-so-nifty diplomatic footwork to explain a meeting in Brussels called “Burma Day 2005 (page 15).” It was an exercise in damage control in the face of a chorus of complaints by pro-democracy and human rights activists with other critics, who effectively thought it was more a Day of Shame. The meeting centered on a European Commission-commissioned report authored by Robert Taylor and Morten Pedersen, dubbed by the critics as Burmese regime apologists. The affair was supposed to dwell on humanitarian aid to Burma which, said EU officials, was why Taylor and Pedersen had been chosen to write the report, and why only “in-the-field” aid experts had been invited. Nonsense, retorted the uninvited critics: Taylor and Pedersen could in no way be described as aid experts, and nor could some of the other guests..."
Author/creator: Bruce Kent
Language: English
Source/publisher: "The Irrawaddy" Vol. 13, No. 4
Format/size: html
Date of entry/update: 29 April 2005


Title: AN INDEPENDENT REPORT FOR THE EUROPEAN COMMISSION, SUPPORTING BURMA/MYANMAR’S NATIONAL RECONCILIATION PROCESS: CHALLENGES AND OPPORTUNITIES
Date of publication: January 2005
Description/subject: "...Despite the lack of progress toward a more democratic regime in Myanmar, many aspects of governance and life in general have changed. Owing to the government’s extensive infrastructure development programme and the cessation of armed hostilities in most of the country, Myanmar is now much more physically and psychologically integrated than at any time in its past. Ceasefire agreements between the government and a large number of former insurgent groups have given leaders on all sides an interest in the maintaining peace and stability. The country is also far more open to foreign influence than previously and positive relationships have been established with all of its neighbours. Despite of the replacement of Prime Minister General Khin Nyunt and his military intelligence coterie, the government has not abandoned its “road map” to a new constitutional order. New, inexperienced ministers are now working to implement those plans. The opposition National League for Democracy (NLD) has been marginalised not only by the continuing detention of its leader, Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, but also because of the party’s unwillingness to participate in the constitutional convention now underway. Internal tensions within the armed forces, while undermining the government’s administrative capacity, provide no opportunity for the creation of political change..."
Author/creator: Robert Taylor, Morten Pedersen
Language: English
Source/publisher: European Commission
Format/size: html (243K), Word (90K)
Alternate URLs: http://www.ibiblio.org/obl/docs3/Independant_Report-Burma_Day.doc
Date of entry/update: 06 April 2005