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

Address the issue of Myanmar’s human rights violations and failure to reform democratic governance

The ASEAN Inter-Parliamentary Myanmar Caucus (AIPMC) urges Foreign Ministers, at their current 42nd ASEAN Ministerial Meeting in Thailand to address the issue of Myanmar’s human rights violations and failure to reform democratic governance .

In contradiction to numerous elements in the ASEAN Charter, Myanmar’s military dictators have continued its policies of repression and violence against its citizens.

The ongoing sham trial of Burma’s pro-democracy leader Daw Aung San Suu Kyi clearly shows the lengths to which the junta will go to repress democratic

efforts and oppress democracy aspirants. In Eastern Myanmar’s Karen State, a renewed military offensive by the military junta, and allied armed groups

since June, have sent thousands of villagers, including children, fleeing into the jungle and across the border to Thailand.

International reports indicate that the armed conflicts, in the breath of the country, involving Myanmar’s junta, government backed militia and non-state armed groups, also gives rise to the continued use of thousands of child soldiers.

Repeated calls from the international community, including from ASEAN member states, while welcomed by the AIPMC, have thus far failed to spur any effective movement towards genuine democratic reform.

Actions of an ASEAN member state reflect upon the entire grouping. It is imperative that ASEAN undertake additional and unified actions to ensure that Myanmar begins a process of national reconciliation, especially prior to holding its election scheduled for next year.

The military’s biased constitution, adopted in 2008, and planned general election in 2010, will only serve to entrench its dominance in government, as certain constitutional provisions guarantee a governing role for the military’s leaders.

Furthermore, as the constitution was drafted without the input of many stakeholders, it is not representative of the desires of Myanmar’s diverse peoples.

Resolving the current political stalemate in Myanmar is central to improving the dire living conditions of its people. Without genuine dialogue and reconciliation among all concerned parties, desperately needed changes in security, education, healthcare and the economy will remain elusive.

The democratic opposition front and ethnic minority leaders have repeatedly signaled their willingness to engage with the junta only to be turned down by the regime’s generals.

Strong, integrated and decisive action by ASEAN and its member-states will serve as an effective indicator to the junta that they must begin the reconciliation process or face regional and international rebuke. As Myanmar’s closest neighbours, and largest trading partners, ASEAN member states are in a particularly influential position and as such should spur much-needed reforms in Myanmar.

A IPMC Parliamentarians strongly encourages the AMM and the ensuing ASEAN Regional Forum to take up the issue of Myanmar’s democratisation and human rights and deliver meaningful positions, on the Burma crisis, following its deliberations.

- Asian Tribune -

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