Delegates attending the Annual Conference of the Conservative Party - the main opposition party in the UK - yesterday gave Burmese democracy activist Zoya Phan a standing ovation following her speech to the conference.
Zoya Phan addressed more than 3,500 people in the conference hall, and the speech was broadcast live on national television.
In her speech, Zoya Phan spoke about her experience of the regimes war against the Karen, and described the appalling human rights situation in Burma. She called on political parties to put support for human rights at the heart of their foreign policy, saying; “Promoting human rights and democracy is not imperialist. It is not a cultural issue. It is everyone’s business. It should be a priority for every country.”
She called on governments to impose targeted economic sanctions on Burma, saying; “In many countries trade and investment can have a positive impact, bringing jobs and prosperity, and opening up countries to new ideas. In Burma the opposite happened, the regime used trade and investment to double the size of the army, and reduced spending on health and education. That is why Burmese people are asking for targeted economic sanctions, to cut the economic lifeline keeping this regime afloat.”
Shadow Foreign Secretary William Hague described Zoya's address to the conference as a; “wonderful speech by a brave young lady from Burma.”
Zoya's final words to the conference; “We just want to go home. I just want to go home but I can’t. Please help us go home,” were selected as quote of the day from the conference by the national UK newspaper, The Mirror.