Friday, May 29, 2009

Act hard and fast on junta

The Nation's POST BAG

The statements made by PM Abhisit and Asean about the atrocious way Aung San Suu Kyi is being treated, not only in her current trumped up trial but ever since she has been under house arrest, are laudable, if a little belated.

PM Abhisit reportedly said that in the eyes of the international community the honour and credibility of Burma's government were at stake. This is an overly generous statement, since in the eyes of most countries Burma's government has absolutely no honour or credibility.

A counter statement from Burma's Foreign Minister that Thailand, as Asean's chair, ''failed to preserve the dignity of Asean, the dignity of Burma and the dignity of Thailand'', further underscores the lack of dignity of the junta's leaders and makes a mockery of the way they operate.

Indeed, Thailand and Asean have gained in both stature and dignity in the eyes of the world by making the bold statements regarding the continued detention of Burma's true representative of democracy as well as all other political prisoners.

The only dignity Burma retains is that of Aung San Suu Kyi and the long suffering Burmese people. They deserve the praise, respect and support of the world community. The generals have neither dignity nor respect from the world community.

The junta neither cares nor listens to world opinion, so it is essential that drastic action be taken immediately to get their attention. Since Asean eventually appears to be showing a unified stance in opposing the actions of the junta, it is clear they should suspend Burma's membership until Aung San Suu Kyi and all jailed political prisoners are released. This decision must be fully supported by all Asean members - obviously excluding any input from Burma and regardless of membership protocol - and be conveyed to the junta by PM Abhisit as the chair.

A strict deadline must be imposed for the junta to comply. Should the junta react positively then its suspension from Asean could be reconsidered in due course.

Immediate, consolidated and drastic action is needed both from Asean and all world leaders if fair treatment for Aung San Suu Kyi and the Burmese people is ever to be achieved.


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