FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Ottawa, Canada – Members of the International Panel of Parliamentarians for Freedom of Religion or Belief have returned from a fact-finding and solidarity visit to Myanmar (Burma), held from August 16-20.
The delegation consisted of four members of IPPFoRB’s network: David Anderson, MP (Canada); Abid Q. Raja, MP (Norway), Cheryllyn Dudley, MP (South Africa), and Edison Broce Urriola (Panama). They were joined by other international parliamentarians: Rachada Dhnadirek (Thailand), and Mujahid Yusof Rawa (Malaysia); as well as observers from the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom.
The delegation made the 4-day visit to Myanmar for meetings with government, NGOs and religious leaders about the state of freedom of religion or belief in the country. Discussions were held around potential changes to Myanmar’s constitution and ‘race and religion protection’ legislation – changes the delegation feels are necessary to protect freedom of religion or belief for vulnerable communities and religious minorities in Myanmar.
“I think the delegation is optimistic that the government of Myanmar is moving in the right direction on protecting religious freedom,” said David Anderson (Canada). “I was happy to have joined international colleagues on this landmark visit, which is the first of its kind for IPPFoRB. The trip established valuable contacts that will help with our future work in Myanmar and abroad.”
“I am looking forward to working with MPs from Myanmar promoting and implementing FoRB in their political and judicial system, and we are ready to provide any assistance needed,” said MP Abid Raja (Norway). “I also call upon and encourage all democratic governments to support building a progressive democracy in Myanmar. A lot of work remains to be done, and my impression after the visit is that all help is welcome.”
For more information on IPPFoRB’s advocacy efforts, visit www.ippforb.com.
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For more information, please contact the IPPFoRB Secretariat: