Please see the current membership of PFOB, immediate after 2011 elections here
The Parliamentary Friends of Burma (PFOB) was officially launched on December 7th 2006 at the National Arts Centre in Ottawa. Membership included 25 MPs and Senators from various Canadian political parties.
Attending the event were, Dr. Sein Win, Prime Minister of the exiled Burmese government; Mr. Charles Chong, the head of Singaporean Parliamentary Caucus on Burma and member of ASEAN Inter-Parliamentary Myanmar Caucus (AIPMC); Dr. Tint Swe, representative of Members of Parliament Union (MPU-Burma); and Dr. Thoung Htun, UN representative for the exiled government and other Canadian MPs, government officials, representatives of civil society and Burmese delegates from across Canada. Dr. Sein Win delivered the keynote speech during the reception.
PFOB membership includes important figures such as Parliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Foreign Affairs, and the ruling party’s Caucus Chair. The group also consists of leading political figures such as Mr. Jack Layton, the leader of the New Democratic Party (NDP), the Chair of Senate Standing Committee on Human Rights, and the Foreign Affairs Critic from Bloc Quebecois.
Canadian MPs have supported the Burmese movement toward democracy following the 1988, nation-wide Democratic Movement in Burma. The Parliamentary Friends of Burma (PFOB) has existed in the Canadian Parliamentary system for over ten years. The first attempt to officially form the group took place on November 30th 2005; however, it was postponed due to an early dissolution of Parliament on November 28th 2006.
The support by Canadian MP’s for democracy in Burma has steadily increased over time. In particular, on June 27th 2006, fifty MPs signed a letter addressed to UN General Secretary, Kofi Anan, and members of the UN Security Council, calling for UNSC action on Burma. Subsequently, September 15th 2006, UNSC formally added Burma to its agenda.
The most significant outcome from the PFOB was the passing of the first-ever, yet most comprehensive resolution on Burma. May 18th 2005, the majority of the MPs voted in favour of the resolution that called for: trade and investment sanctions, UN Security Council intervention, and the provision of ‘tangible support’ for the Burmese democratic movement. The existence of the PFOB ensures that the elements of the resolution will be implemented.
Overall, the primary function of the PFOB is to support the democratization process in Burma by promoting Burma issues at a national level. The PFOB works with similar parliamentary groups from around the world as well as ASEAN in an attempt to help the 52 million Burmese people realize their dream of the restoration of democracy and fundamental human rights in their homeland. The PFOB also works to voice issues and concerns at various international and regional events, conduct fact-finding missions and makes recommendations to the Canadian Government.
The establishment of the PFOB ensures ongoing parliamentarian support, extensive debate, advocacy, and a concentrated effort on the issues associated with Burma.