Nov 3, 2010

Activists urge ASEAN, UN to quickly act on Burma; see ‘zero democratic integrity’ on 2010 polls

MANILA, PHILIPPINES – With only 15 days to go before the scheduled November 7 multi-party elections in Burma, solidarity activists under the Free Burma Coalition – Philippines (FBC-Phils) today staged a rally in front of the Philippine Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) as part of the Global Day of Action denouncing what they call Burma's “military elections”.

To signify support to the broader movement of Burma activists calling to boycott the upcoming elections, activists brought a giant “X” mark to symbolise their opposition not only against the elections but also on the continued injustices still being committed by the ruling-military junta. The group likewise paraded flags of the ASEAN member-states urging them to support the call on the creation of a UN Commission of Inquiry to crimes against humanity in Burma.

FBC-Phils said that despite mounting international criticisms, the military regime of Burma until now is not showing significant indications that the elections will become free, fair and credible. Instead, according to the group, arbitrary arrests, harassment and continued detention of activists and ordinary people supportive of democracy including journalists are happening right now in Burma.

Earler this year, democracy groups around the world launched an international campaign calling for a UN Commission of Inquiry to crimes against humanity in Burma and challenged the regime to (3) three political demands that include the immediate release of all political prisoners including Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, cessation of hostilities against ethnic nationalities and an all-inclusive review of the 2008 Nargis-Constitution.

The Burmese junta has already ensured its victory by manipulating the processes of the elections from the drafting of the new Constitution, unfair provisions and restrictions of the election laws, and even through party registration and de-registration. This election, we can say has no democratic integrity and will not address the perennial problems of undemocracy, economic mismanagement and human rights violations in Burma,” Egoy Bans, FBC-Phils spokesperson said.

It’s time for the ASEAN and the UN to step up and send a clear message to the generals in Burma before this election becomes a political disaster. They should go beyond their usual rhetorics of diplomacy and constructive engagement and must do all things necessary to compel the military regime to democratize, “ Bans added.

Bans explained, “We denounce this election as undemocratic and an outright insult to democracy and justice. With more than 2,000 political prisoners still languishing in Burma's detention centers, military attacks against ethnic nationalities, a military constitution that doesn't reflect the genuine aspirations of the people for democracy and a 24/7 human rights violations in Burma, it is not so hard to assume that the sole interest of the ruling junta is to maintain its grasp to power.”

For inquiries, kindly refer to:
Gani Abunda: (+63)929-4109647, Egoy N. Bans (+63)920 9132472 c/o Initiatives for International Dialogue (IID) +632 435 2900; +632 9110205