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Asian Tribune is published by World Institute For Asian Studies|Powered by WIAS Vol. 12 No. 2559

NLD condemns Burmese junta for preventing the opening of its branch offices in other parts of Burma.

Rangoon, 15 June, (Asiantribune.com): Except for the NLD branch offices remain closed after the arrest of NLD leader Aung San Suu Kyi on 30 May 2003, near Tabayin, Sagaing Division. NLD branch offices remain closed after the arrest of NLD leader Aung San Suu Kyi on 30 May 2003, near Tabayin, Sagaing Division. Headquarters of the National League for Democracy located in Rangoon, other offices in the states and divisions continues to remain closed following the brutal and violent attack on the motorcade of the Aung San Suu Kyi, NLD General Secretary, who was on an organizing trip, near Tabayin, Sagaing Division, on 30 May 2003.

In a statement released by the Central Executive Committee of the National League for Democracy pointed out, “Without the permission from the authoritative body concerned, no one can open or close these offices. No one can be above the law. Hence, the acts including the announcement that a township NLD office has been closed and/or the party signboard has been removed, are illegal and therefore they are totally unacceptable to the NLD.”

The statement castigated the Burmese authorities who acts with impunity in unlawfully preventing, obstruct, close down political parties or to carry out efforts to destroy the parties.

The full text of the statement released by the National League for Democracy is given below. Kindly note the statement is an unofficial translation from the original statement released in the Burmese language.

The National League for Democracy is a legal political party that was registered with the Multiparty Democratic General Elections Commission on 27 September 1988 in accordance with the Political Parties Registration Law. It also participated in the multiparty democratic general elections on 27 May 1990 in accordance with that law.

In every country which practices genuine multiparty democracy, political parties, in accordance with their own regulations, have full intra-party rights to recruit members, give them assignment, dismiss them, allow them to resign, and systematically form party branches, restructure and strengthen, and operate freely.

Should the authorities act contrary to the above because of their own suspicion and resort to placing all forms of obstructions and imposing restrictions by any means, then they would be in violation of the Political Parties Registration Law. Furthermore, those acts negate the very essence of allowing political parties to be established so that a multiparty democratic system can be practiced.

To tout "multiparty" while trying to destroy a political party, and claim "democracy" while depriving a political party of its democratic rights to meet, assemble, organize, speak, publish and distribute papers it needs, clearly belie the claim that a genuine multiparty democratic nation is being built.

While resorting to all means to prevent the NLD from exercising its democratic rights bestowed under law, the authorities have also been creating conditions to destroy the NLD which is a legal entity. For example, special investigation units in the townships concerned summoned the NLD members in northern Shan State, interrogated them like criminals, labeling the top and bottom of the pages where their biographies were written with the "Confidential" seal, sending the duplicates of the biographies to the state or divisional peace and development councils, the Union Solidarity and Development Associations, and Police Departments, and forced them to quit the party.

When people who are knowledgeable about the law countered these acts with legal arguments, the authorities backed off. But more pressure and threats were used against the majority of the NLD members who have little knowledge about the law.

The authorities are violating the law they themselves had enacted. Those who legislate the law should not violate laws.

Furthermore, these acts run counter to the "Rule of Law" slogan that the authorities had been chanting.

We believe that the Multiparty Democratic General Election Commission should encourage the political parties which have legal standing under the Political Parties Registration Law to organize and operate in accordance with democratic practices.

Furthermore, the banner, party signboards, and office buildings are symbols of the party concerned. The authorities destroying these symbols are tantamount to destroying the official work of the political party which has legal standing.

Following the brutal and violent attack on the motorcade of the NLD General Secretary, which was on an organizing trip, near Tabayin, Sagaing Division, on 30 May 2003, although the authorities had claimed that it was a temporary measure, all NLD offices were all closed down. All these offices in the states and divisions, with the exception of the NLD headquarters, have remained closed until now. Without the permission from the authoritative body concerned, no one can open or close these offices. No one can be above the law. Hence, the acts including the announcement that a township NLD office has been closed and/or the party signboard has been removed, are illegal and therefore they are totally unacceptable to the NLD.

Neither the Political Parties Registration Law nor the Multiparty Democratic General Elections Commission Law give the authorities the right or the responsibility to restrict, obstruct, close down political parties or to carry out efforts to destroy the parties. All acts committed without legal authority are unlawful. They are merely abuses of authority.

Hence, after NLD members were lured with enticements and coerced, threatened, pressured, and forced to sign resignations by the authorities concerned, the Multiparty Democratic General Elections Commissions concerned had announced that certain elected representatives had resigned, that NLD party members had tendered resignations en masse at ceremonies, and that certain NLD offices had been closed down. These are totally unlawful acts under the laws mentioned above.

- Asian Tribune -

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