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Analysis: The Ineffectual Roles of U.N and ASEAN on Burma

By Myat Soe
Mizzima News (www.mizzima.com)
October 27, 2003:

The whole world knows that the ongoing political impasse in Burma can't be
solved without SPDC regime's sincerity. In fact, the regime is not serious about national reconciliation and about rebuilding the nation as evident from its refusal to engage in serious substantial talks with Daw Aung San Suu Kyi. It is just paying lip service to dialogue, playing for the time, in the expectation that the US Government, the UN, and the international community will, over time, buy into its claim that it is patiently and slowly building a stable democracy.

The whole world has witnessed that the elected opposition leaders ( NLD and others) in Burma are serious about achieving national reconciliation, establishing a normal state-society relation, resolving all outstanding problems and conflicts, rebuilding the state and nation and national unity, via dialogue.

In deed, they are serious about dialogue as a solution because they believe
that if the regime listens to the voice of the people and the opposition, and it will be reciprocated. Burma's conflicts and problems are caused precisely because the military and its regime refuse to hear the voices of the people and as well do not allow them to speak.

Even so, Burmese people have already expressed their desire for a emocratic
government in the 1990 elections with an overwhelming vote of over 82%.
They have granted the National League for Democracy (NLD) representatives
the legitimacy to convene a parliament and initiate a democratic government. The election results were given international endorsement in successive UN
General assemble Resolutions. The holding of the 1990 elections and the
failure of the SLORC/SPDC to honor its results had further altered the international system to the nature of Burmese authoritarianism.

Since then, the SLORC, currently the State Peace and Development Committee
(SPDC), has resorted to various means to obstruct the NLD from executing its
rights and obligations as the elected party. These include arbitrary arrest
and imprisonment of the NLD representatives and members, forcing them into
exile or resignation, harassing the leadership in most uncivilized ways, and
convening a sham national convention that is supposed to rubber-stamp a military-imposed constitution.

In recent months, the Burma's military rulers are under increasing international pressure to release Nobel Peace prize winner and democracy movement leader Aung San Suu Kyi who was arrested May 30th after a violent premeditated attack on her motorcade by pro-regime hoodlums. A number of people were killed and many others were injured and imprisoned.

Following the events in northern Myanmar of 30 May, which resulted in the
detention of Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and other leaders of the National League
for Democracy (NLD), Burma's embryonic and home-grown national reconciliation process, as understood by the United Nations, was halted. Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and other NLD leaders still remain detained and incommunicado .

The Secretary-General Kofi Annan remained gravely concerned about the safety
and well-being of these NLD leaders and others detained after 30 May and
reiterates his call for the Burmese authorities to remove, without delay, all the restrictions imposed on their freedom of movement and political activities.

In his statement, he was also seriously concerned that the absence of progress in the process of national reconciliation and democratization is to the detriment of the Burmese people, who voted for change in 1990 and deserve toexperience the same benefits of economic, civil, social and political development as their counterparts in neighbouring countries. The Secretary-General reiterates his determination to do his utmost to revive the national reconciliation process if all parties are willing.

However, his Special Envoy Razali Ismail 's mission failed to resolve political impasse in Burma. The role of U.N Special Envoy is to facilitate national reconciliation and democratization in Burma, in accordance with General Assembly resolution 57/231 of 18 December 2002. In an attempt to achieve those objectives of the U.N resolution, the U.N. Special Envoy Razali Ismail must promote the substantive dialogue process between the elected political leaders and self-appointed military leaders. Instead of focusing on his own mission and promoting the substantive dialogue process, he even continued to assist the SPDC's political strategy of time buying and endorse the SPDC's roadmap. Contrary to the expectations of the people in Burma , who are overwhelmingly in favor of change, and the United Nations, there was no substantive progress towards national reconciliation and democratization in Burma. Therefore, . Mr Kofi Annan must review on his special envoy's mission outcomes and reconsider to replace his ineffective Special Envoy Razali or to find the effective approach to achieve the UNGA resolution. The U.N must more need to be done by not only condemnation but also effective actions to the Burmese regime's brutality and

On the other hand in the region, the freedom of Burma is ignored by our ASEAN neighbors. The Southeast Asian leaders pledged to step up the fight against terrorism, but they failed to denounce the State-Sponsored Terrorism in the region. The region will never be secure while one of its members ( the notorious Burmese military regime) is holding the 50 millions hostages , while a few live in the penthouse and do as they please. The ASEAN should not harbor the terrorist regime in the region. The ASEAN should seek to pressure and isolate state sponsors so they will renounce the use of terrorism, end support to terrorists, and bring terrorists to justice for past crimes.

Likewise, the ASEAN establishes an ASEAN community of "three pillars" – the
ASEAN Security Community, ASEAN Economic Community and ASEAN Socio-cultural Community -- "for the purpose of ensuring durable peace, stability and
shared prosperity in the region. Without political stability in one of its nations because of State-Sponsored Terrorism, the economic development in the region is impossible and so do prosperity in the region. The ASEAN must reconsider their actions in the face of the mounting international demands regarding on the Burma's issue. In retrospect of the past regime changes in the region ( ie Philippine, Indonesia, East Timor, Cambodia ), the whole world has witnessed the ineffectual approaches of ASEAN and its hypocritical policy.

Despite that, building pressure on Burma must be indeed intense. We must
continuously urge international communities, governments and institutions to
keep up the pressure and to use their power and influence to stop the ongoing political oppression, violation of human rights inside Burma, and waging war against the people. The political intervention from the U.N Security Council is an urgent need to resolve the Burma's political impasse. The pressure is the only language the regime's thugs understand and hear. The language may be too strong for Asian leaders who want to sit on the fence in the Burma's issue, but we must push them to stand up for what is right and wrong in the Burma's conflict. We must urge the ASEAN to continue pressing for democratic reforms in Burma.

The writter Myat Soe is Research Director of Justice for Human Rights in Burma (www.jhburma.org)

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