Monday, December 8, 2008

Asian parliamentarians urge Ban to persuade Burmese junta

by Salai Pi Pi
Monday, 08 December 2008

New Delhi (Mizzima) – Over 240 parliamentarians from Asian countries on Monday renewed calls to the United Nations chief to make a fresh trip to Burma and goad the military junta to release all political prisoners including Nobel Peace Laureate Daw Aung San Suu Kyi.

The 241 parliamentarians of Asian countries including those from Korea and Japan on Monday endorsed a letter by the Asean Inter-Parliamentary Myanmar Caucus (AIPMC) which urged UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon to visit Burma and press for the release of political prisoners and kick start political reforms, a call that Ban had earlier refused to make citing the junta's unwillingness to implement reforms.

Son Chhay, a legislator from Cambodia, a member state of the 10-nation Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), told Mizzima that the UN chief should not delay in dealing with Burma's military regime but find an alternative approach to mount pressure on it.

"He [Ban Ki-moon] has a mandate of the UN to a find way out for a political process in Burma," said Son Chhay, Chairperson of Committee on Foreign Affairs, International Cooperation and Media of the National Assembly of the Kingdom of Cambodia.

"He cannot be into dalliance with the regime. Otherwise, it will provide an opportunity to the junta to continue to abuse the people," he said.

The UN chief last week said he will not be making a fresh trip to Burma unless there are concrete signs of 'progress' in the military-ruled country. He felt that such a trip would yield no fruit.

Ban made the statement on Thursday, after more than 120 former presidents and prime ministers around the world sent him similar petitions urging him to visit Burma and press for the release of political prisoners including those that have been recently sentenced to lengthy prison terms.

Inspite of international condemnation, Burma's military rulers in recent months have sentenced several political activists to inordinately long prison terms of up to 68 years.

Son Chhay said despite international calls "We found that there is no moving forward in the political process in Burma. On the contrary, there is a reversal."

"More and more people were arrested and sentenced to long years in prison which has only added to people's suffering," he added.

Son Chhay suggested that the UN must look out for alternative solutions to Burma's political crisis and should not allow the junta to continue to abuse and disrespect the will of the Burmese people. It must take a decision to punish the regime.

"At the same time, Ban should put pressure on Russia and China to push the regime to enter into a dialogue with opposition groups in the run up to [2010] the elections," he added.

But a Burmese observer based in Thailand said there are doubts over the UN general secretary's role in attempting to address political and human rights crisis in Burma.

"Ban Ki-moon knows that his trip to Burma won't make any difference. It will only mean disgrace for him. That's why he is refusing to go," Aung Thu Nyein, a Burmese analyst said.

Aung Thu Nyein also said only UN Security Council member countries will be able to persuade the regime to bring about change in Burma.

But the AIPMC in its letter said the UN chief needs new initiatives on Burma as calls by the United Nations Security Council, General Assembly, and Human Rights Council have all failed to yield any political break through.

Recent Posts from Burma Wants Freedom and Democracy

Recent posts from WHO is WHO in Burma


The Nuke Light of Myanmar Fan Box
The Nuke Light of Myanmar on Facebook
Promote your Page too