Tag Archives: ASEAN

Burma Thugs Ready To Imprison Dissident Leader

The military clique which rules Myanmar with a tight fist pays scant attention to the world outside its own domain. The Association of South-East Asian Nations (ASEAN) urged the Burmese government not to proceed with the trial of dissident leader, Aung San Suu Kyi who was arrested because a nut case swam across a lake and got refuge in her house. ASEAN, literally for the first time, issued a protest to Burma over the trial and noted that country’s “honor and credibility” was at stake if it proceeded.

The trial is taking place in the infamous Insein prison and the public and media is barred from hearing what transpires for a “trial.” Ms. Kyi’s lawyer was disbarred so it is doubtful if anything resembling a trial is occurring. It is expected she will be sent to prison for a few years to ensure that her presence does not interfere with the scheduled election next year.

Burma Democracy–Continue Arrest Of Opposition Leader

The only guaranteed certainty regarding politic in Myanmar is that anyone who dares opposing the thugs who currently run that nation will undoubtedly be sent to the nearest prison or kept under detention. Myanmar Foreign Minister Nyan Win, made clear to members of ASEAN that Aung San Suu Kyi, the nation’s most popular figure, will not be released from house detention this year but will remain under close supervision until well into 2009. He insisted representatives from ASEAN had “misunderstood” his statement regarding the imprisonment of a woman who overwhelmingly won the last democratic election held in the country.

In a sign of disgust with the Burmese statement, foreign ministers of ASEAN issues a statement expressing their “deep disappointment” with the decision. Nations of the world now know, Burmese leaders love signing statements about support for democracy under the illusion democracy means sign a statement but never have any intention of ever carrying it out. Burma is ruled by vicious men who harbor scant interest in their nation. They rule to ensure power and enrich themselves of the nation’s wealth.

Burma Supports Human Rights–Which Ones? Junta’s?

The thugs who control the nation of Burma once again publicly stated their support for human rights by ratifying the charter of the Association of Southeast Nations(ASEAN) and vowed to uphold its democratic ideals. However, they also made clear upholding human rights does not mean releasing opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi or other dissidents who are imprisoned. Foreign Minister Nyan Win said: “Myanmar’s ratification of the charter demonstrates our strong commitment to embrace the common values and aspirations of the peoples of Asean.” Nyan Win was also among ASEAN nations which set up a high-level human rights body and urged “Myanmar to take bolder steps towards a peaceful transition to democracy in the near future.”

There is no question when it comes to issuing statements and promises concerning democracy, the junta which rules Burma never fails to adhere to the highest standards of democracy. The part they struggle with is implementing words into actions. This simply is another example of rhetoric and there is scant evidence anything concrete will result in terms of according the people of Burma their basic human rights.

Burmese Military Junta Continues Ignoring World

Surin Pitsuwan, head of the Association of Southeast Asia Nations(ASEAN) warned the Burmese junta it must allow foreign aid workers access to areas hardest hit by the cyclone if it wished to keep the trust of the international community. “What has to be delvered is real activities’ that allow the world freedom to help the thousands of Burmese people who continue existing without access to food or water, let alone places to live. ASEAN, along with the UN co-hosted a conference over the weekend which focused on helping victims and its reputation is now on the line. Although three weeks have passd since the cyclone hit, it is estimated only 40% of its victims have received any assistance.

Although there has been a slight improvement in speeding up visas there are still complaints of delays and frustrations. Surin noted: “There are many low-hanging fruits that can be harvested, and those include accessibility, delivering of supplies already on the ground, monitoring, and the ability to admit and allow foreign aid workers into the feld with less obstacles and less delay.” He warned the Burmese government ASEAN wanted results within a week or it would conclude there still was no commitment from the junta to support relief efforts.

Meanwwhile, in a slap at the world which is helping Burma, the ruling junta extended for one year the detention of Aung San Suu Kyi who has been confined to her house snce 2003. Burmese law stipulates a person can not be detained for longer than five yers without either being charged or released. But, the militay junta which boasts it received a 92.4% of the vote for its new constitution, has never been bothered by such issues as respecting the law. It decides which laws are respected.

ASEAN– Toothless Tiger Of Asia

In a biting sarcastic article appearing in the Bangkok Post, Achara Ashayagachat, decried his government’s willingness to go along with the Organization of South Eastern Nation’s decision to ignore human rights violations in Burma. Despite urging from UN leaders, such as special envoy Ibrahim Gambrari, the ASEAN meeting demonstrated “there was no unified voice and the leaders all succumbed to Burmese objection to any form of intervention.” The Philippines was the only government taking a firm stand in support of dissident rights and will refuse to sign the recent agreement until something is done to protect human rights in Myanmar. Unfortunately, the failure of ASEAN to take a stand means Burma’s generals “need not fear any interference from their neighbours should they again deal harshly with any future opposition.” He urges the incoming Thai government to stand up for the Burmese people.

It’s encouraging to know there are voices in southeast Asian nations which support human rights. Hopefully, a new Thai government will listen to these cries for assisting the oppressed people of Burma.

Southeast Asian Nations Ignore Human Rights Issues

The meeting of southeastern nations resulted in an agreement to establish a human rights body whose function would be to protect outside nations from interfering when one of its member nations denies human rights to its people. The new human rights group would be a toothless body with absolutely no power to interfere in Myanmar’s policies of brutal suppression of those opposing the military junta. The new human rights body would be composed of representatives from ASEAN countries and would draft a “long-term roadmap” about human rights. But, it was made clear the body must show “respect for national independence, sovereignty, equality, territorial integrity and national identify of all ASEAN member states.” It was specifically emphasized that the agency should “be faithful to ASEAN and its common interests and oppose external influence attempting to interfere in the human rights issues of any ASEAN member state.”

The ASEAN report is sickening to those who fight for human rights in the world. Nothing is done to halt the brutal Myanmar military junta and nothing is done to meet the aspirations and needs of the people of Burma.

Time Running Out In Burma

As the days and weeks pass without any significant change in Burma prospects disappear for aiding the oppressed people of that nation. Michael Vatikotis, of the Asian Centre For Humanitarian Dialogue, says the recent announcement by the military junta of a constitutional committee which fails to include representatives of opposition parties indicates an attitude of proceeding as usual. Burma’s military leaders talk with UN envoy Ibrahim Gambari, shake their heads as though there is interest in what he urges, and after Gambari leaves, they go right back to the old ways of ignoring the world. ASEAN, the Association of Southeastern Nations, has been unable to come up with a joint approach that might combine a carrot-stick proposal to the junta. China and India which can exert pressure refuse to take any action that threatens their economic interests in Myanmar. According to Vtaikotis, if nothing concrete is proposed, “the generals in Burma will correctly conclude that they have been given a free pass again” to go on with oppressing the people of Burma.

Perhaps, there is one option that might be taken. Organization of a world wide boycott of the Olympic Games in 2008 would force China to take action and force the military junta to institute changes. Is there any one out there willing to lead such a boycott?