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Asian Tribune is published by World Institute For Asian Studies|Powered by WIAS Vol. 12 No. 2701

Defer Burma's National Referendum, Deal with Cyclone First

Bangkok, 07 May, (Asiantribune.com): The National Council of the Union of Burma (NCUB) has called upon the international community to press the military regime to immediately defer the referendum in order to address the devastation left by Cyclone Nargis. After survivors’ main needs are met, the regime can proceed with a rescheduled referendum, this time under free and fair conditions, including the presence of international monitors.

Furthermore, NCUB has demanded that the (officially known as ) State Peace and Development Council (SPDC) must also unconditionally release all political prisoners, including Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, U Tin Oo, Khun Tun Oo and Min Ko Naing.

In a statement, the NCUB has pointed out that despite the strong opposition of Burmese people and the international community, and the thousands of lives lost because of the weekend’s Cyclone Nargis, the Burmese military regime, (SPDC) insists on pressing ahead with its referendum scheduled for May 10th to rubber stamp their military constitution.

The statement added, “The military constitution, written by representatives handpicked by the military junta, will cement military rule in Burma. The SPDC has undertaken a systematic campaign to threaten and coerce Burmese voters into approving the military constitution. Still worse, pro-democracy leaders have been harassed, intimidated, and in some cases, threatened and beaten for campaigning for exercising their fundamental right to promote a “No” vote.”

Win Hlaing, NLD MP-elect, said, "Despite the threats and intimidation, Burmese people will vote against the constitution. Even in the middle of this terrible tragedy, people will courageously stand up and be counted. They will show their determination as they did during last year’s Saffron Revolution, the 1990 general election, and in the 1988 peoples’ uprising.”

Soe Aung spokesperson of NCUB said, "The cyclone left hundreds of thousands of people homeless, and the state media reported at least 10,000 people dead and 3000 missing. Instead of pushing ahead with the referendum, the military should focus all available resources on immediately launching rescue missions and setting up rehabilitation centres. The SPDC must discard its restrictive rules on UN and international agencies so that they can travel freely to affected regions to deliver assistance to the people.”

The NCUB is the broadest umbrella organization of pro-democracy Burman and non-Burman ethnic nationalities, working for democracy in Burma with the National Coalition Government of the Union of Burma (NCGUB), Ethnic Nationalities Council (ENC), Forum for Democracy in Burma (FDB), Students and Youth Congress of Burma (SYCB), Women’s League of Burma (WLB), and Nationalities Youth Forum (NY Forum).

- Asian Tribune -

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