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Asian Tribune is published by World Institute For Asian Studies|Powered by WIAS Vol. 12 No. 2731

Over 200 Asian Legislators urge UN Sec-Gen to travel to Myanmar,

Kuala Lumpur, 08 December, (Asiantribune.com): In what is believed to be the first time in history, a large group of parliamentarians from all over Asia have sent a public letter to the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon urging him obtain the release of all political prisoners from Myanmar / Burma by 31 December 2008.

The letter comes just after a group of 112 former Presidents and Prime Ministers from 50 countries wrote to the Secretary General, also urging him to meet the year-end deadline in travelling to Myanmar to secure the release of all of the over 2,100 political prisoners in the country.

Members of Parliament from Korea, Thailand, Cambodia, Japan, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore and Indonesia joined the effort by parliamentarians from Asia who are extremely concerned about the lack of progress in Myanmar’s human rights situation.

"It is important that Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon travel to the country himself and engage in serious dialogue with the military regime and impress on them the calls by leaders and lawmakers from Asia and around the world for the release of all political prisoners," said Kraisak Choonhavan, President of the ASEAN Inter Parliamentary Myanmar Caucus, who hosted the petition.

"The suffering of the people must not be allowed to continue and the world can no longer sit idly by and only assist them when there is a devastating natural disaster," he added, in a separate cover letter to the UN Sec-General.

A total of 241 parliamentarians from these eight Asian countries collectively reminded the UN Sec-Gen that the United Nations Security Council, General Assembly, and Human Rights Council have all called on Myanmar’s military regime to immediately release all political prisoners, a call the military junta has defied.

Given below the full text of the letter addressed by parliamentarians of the region to UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon urging him to secure the release of the political prisoners held captives by the Burmese junta:

"Dear UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon,

"As parliamentarians from across Asia, we are elected to represent our peoples in our governments and to the world. We are writing to you on a matter of grave concern: the ongoing imprisonment of over 2,100 political prisoners in Burma/Myanmar.

"As you know, the United Nations Security Council, General Assembly, and Human Rights Council have all called on Burma’s military regime to immediately release all political prisoners in Burma.

"In direct defiance of the international community the military regime has not only failed to release political prisoners and enter into genuine dialogue, but instead in the past year almost doubled the number of prisoners to more than 2,100.

"Further, Burma’s military regime has used prisoners of conscience as political pawns, releasing a handful during and after visits by UN envoys while avoiding a complete release that would allow pave the way for true national reconciliation. After UN envoys leave from Burma, more arrests always continue.

"We understand that you may travel to Burma in December, 2008 and encourage you to take this trip. We urge you to seize this opportunity to obtain the release of all political prisoners by the end of 2008.

"The release of all political prisoners in Burma would be a significant step forward, and an obvious and concrete first step to begin a process of national reconciliation in Burma.

"However, the release of only a limited number of prisoners would represent a continuation of the same games the military regime has used to extend its power for decades.

"The suffering of the people have Burma has been going on for decades. We have a moral duty to do whatever we can to help the people of Burma reach a peaceful and sustainable political settlement. No effort should be spared in the endeavor.

We trust in you and your good offices to work to achieve this concrete benchmark, and offer our full support to you in doing so."

- Asian Tribune -

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