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Asian Tribune is published by World Institute For Asian Studies|Powered by WIAS Vol. 12 No. 2954

CSW condemns Burma’s national convention as "farcical"

London 15 October, ( Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW) today condemns the National Convention in Burma, which reconvened on 10 October, as a "blatant effort by the brutal military regime to rubber-stamp its rule and crush the opposition." CSW calls on the United Nations Security Council to pass a binding resolution, requiring Burma’s junta to engage in dialogue with pro-democracy and ethnic nationality groups, and to release all political prisoners.

Burma’s ruling junta, the State Peace and Development Council (SPDC), first convened the National Convention in 1993 to draft a constitution, and the process has been suspended several times since then. Yesterday, the final session began, with 1,088 delegates, mostly handpicked by the military.

The National Convention excludes main representatives of most ethnic nationality groups and the National League for Democracy (NLD), whose leader, Nobel Laureate Aung San Suu Kyi, marked 4,000 days in house arrest on 9 October.

During a CSW visit to Burma last month, none of the people interviewed expressed any confidence that the National Convention will lead to federal democracy or respect for human rights. SPDC Order 5/96 warns that anyone criticising the National Convention could be jailed for up to 20 years.

The United Nations Special Rapporteur for Human Rights in Burma, Paolo Sergio Pinheiro, described the National Convention as "surrealistic" and "meaningless and undemocratic", adding: "it will not work on the moon; [it] will not work on Mars!" The UN General Assembly has called for a "genuinely inclusive" constitution-drafting process.

CSW’s National Director, Stuart Windsor, says: "The world should know that Burma’s regime is engaged in a farcical attempt to legitimise its authority and put a civilian face on a brutal military. It is a blatant effort by the regime to rubber-stamp its rule and crush the opposition. A rigged constitution will be followed by a rigged referendum and rigged elections, in which the military will have a third of the parliamentary seats already reserved for them. This is a regime guilty of crimes against humanity, attempted genocide and suppression of religious freedom."

"The UN should investigate these crimes and bring the junta to justice. The UN Security Council must now pass a binding resolution, requiring the SPDC to engage in tripartite dialogue with pro-democracy and ethnic nationality groups, and move towards a genuine transition to federal democracy. We will go on campaigning for this until it is achieved."

- Asian Tribune -

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