Thursday, August 13, 2009

Indonesia Bans Meeting of Exiled Burmese Activists

The Irrawaddy News

JAKARTA — Indonesia's government has stopped a group of exiled Burmese opposition activists from holding a conference in the country, officials said Thursday, a day after the president voiced support for "credible" elections in the military dictatorship.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Teuku Faizasyah said police had prevented the conference from taking place Wednesday because it was inappropriate.

"We will not allow a group claiming to be a government-in-exile from whatever country to hold their activities in Indonesia," Faizasyah said, noting that Burma is a legal state recognized by Indonesia and other members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations.

On Tuesday, a Burmese court found pro-democracy leader and Nobel Peace Prize laureate Aung San Suu Kyi guilty of breaching the terms of her house arrest. She was sentenced to 18 months of further confinement.

In response, Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono issued a statement on Wednesday saying Suu Kyi's National League for Democracy party should be allowed to take part in "inclusive and credible" elections in Burma.

Suu Kyi's detention will keep her from participating in the junta's planned elections next year, the first polls since 1990, when her party won overwhelmingly but was barred from taking power.

The Jakarta conference was organized by a group called The Movement for Democracy and Rights for Ethnic Nationalities, an alliance of ethnic and pro-democracy parties, both exiled and within Burma, who say on their Web site that they want to push for quicker democratic reform.

The conference delegates included exiled parliamentarians from Suu Kyi's party and six other organizations dedicated to the rights of woman, youth and ethnic minorities.

Bo Hla Tint, a member of Suu Kyi's party living in exile, accused Burma's military rulers of exerting behind-the-scenes pressure on Indonesia to scrap the conference.

"This shows the real interference of the military junta. They don't want interference from other Asean members," he said in a telephone interview Thursday, referring to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations.

Bo Hla Tint accused Burma's neighbors of "double standards" by supporting the international community's calls for democratic elections while at the same time turning a blind eye to human rights abuses.

Suu Kyi's conviction drew sharp criticism from world leaders and human rights groups, as well as promises of new European Union sanctions against Burma.

"There is a clear and stark contrast between the public statements of the Indonesia government with its actions," said Roshan Jason, a conference organizer and executive director of the Asean Inter-Parliamentary Myanmar (Burma) Caucus.

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