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Cablegate: Czechs - Strong Supporters of Us Position On Burma

VZCZCXRO3137
RR RUEHAG RUEHAST RUEHDA RUEHDBU RUEHDF RUEHFL RUEHIK RUEHKW RUEHLA
RUEHLN RUEHLZ RUEHPOD RUEHROV RUEHSR RUEHVK RUEHYG
DE RUEHPG #1158 2911443
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 181443Z OCT 07
FM AMEMBASSY PRAGUE
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 9728
INFO RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE

UNCLAS PRAGUE 001158

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

PRM/ANE FOR EILEEN SEN, EAP/MLS FOR AARON COPE, IO/UNP FOR
PAUL WICKBERG, EUR/NCE FOR ALEX TRATENSEK, EUR/ERA FOR
NICOLE OTALLAH

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV PHUM BM EU EZ
SUBJECT: CZECHS - STRONG SUPPORTERS OF US POSITION ON BURMA

REF: A. STATE 142626
B. PRAGUE 1124
C. PRAGUE 1086
D. PRAGUE 1060

1. (SBU) Summary: In addition to the consistent, strong
Czech engagement within the EU on Burma, the GOCR is very
active on the bilateral front in support of democracy and
human rights there. On October 9 the GOCR announced
assistance (2M Crowns or 100,000 USD) for the "victims and
the relatives affected by repressions in Burma." Czech
Director of Human Rights and Transition Policy, Gabriela
Dlouha, affirmed Czech government support and involvement in
shaping the EU GAERC conclusions released on October 16
"condemning the brutal crack-down on demonstrators in Burma"
as well as the additional restrictive measures on timber and
mining of minerals. The Czechs continue to look for
opportunities to be helpful in Burma, which they have
identified as one of their democracy promotion "priority"
countries. End Summary.

----------
Refugees, Political Prisoners, Democracy Promotion
----------
2. (SBU) The Czech government has been following, and
working to improve the situation in Burma since the mid-90s.
Their support essentially falls into two main categories -
humanitarian assistance and democracy promotion. This most
recent announcement of 2M Crowns falls into the category of
humanitarian assistance and it is their third allocation of
resources for refugees this year alone. Last year they
notably worked through the NGO "Thailand Burma Border
Consortium," with which the USG also works on Burmese
refugees in Thailand, and the Czechs provided 3M Crowns
(150,000 USD) in assistance.

3. (SBU) With respect to democracy promotion, Dlouha's
department of Human Rights and Transition Policy monitors the
status of democracy, human rights and fundamental freedoms in
priority countries, such as Burma. They also identify and
fund projects to reinforce democratic institutions (reftels B
and D). In Burma they provide assistance primarily through
the reputable Czech NGO "People in Need," which has been
working in Burma since 1997. This last year, they have also
begun working with "Burma Center Prague," which is a
relatively new NGO lead by a Burmese woman. Currently the
MFA is targeting their assistance to political prisoners and
their families, media (Democratic Voice of Burma) and
transitional projects in support of civil society.

----------
Public Messages
----------
4. (SBU) The Czechs are not reluctant to speak publicly about
the situation in Burma. In addition to their work within the
EU to craft strong messages in support of the demonstrators,
the Czech government has issued three strong statements since
August expressing support for the rights of the demonstrators
and condemning the use of force against them. They have also
expressed a willingness to work with the US at the UN on
resolutions, such as the proposed resolution "condemning the
use of rape as an instrument of state policy" (reftel C),
particularly because they sought to draw attention to the
situation in Burma.
Graber

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