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9-15 January: Junta’s Stalling Shows True Intent

January 15, 2010

Dear Friends and Supporters,

Last week we reported how the military regime is progressing with its preparations for the planned elections. This week we look at the efforts of democratic and ethnic opposition groups to organize among themselves.

On 11 January, the National League for Democracy appointed 9 new members to its Central Executive Committee in an effort to increase the participation of

younger generations and make the party more active in the lead up to the elections. However, party General Secretary Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and Vice-Chairman U Tin Oo remain under house arrest and the SPDC has denied requests for U Tin Oo to join in NLD meetings.

The Democratic Party of the so-called “third force” has added its voice to the opposition, criticizing the junta this week for not having released the election laws, and saying the regime is not giving enough time for parties to prepare. The party’s chairperson, U Thu Wei, said, “We expect that the election laws will impose a lot of restrictions and limitations which will leave more groups and people unable to participate.”

In a letter to Senior General Than Shwe, the Shan National League for Democracy requested a meeting with its imprisoned leaders, chairman Khun Htun Oo and secretary Sai Nyunt Lwin. It is doubtful that the junta will grant this request. In a statement on Jan 12th, the 47th Anniversary of Palaung Revolution Day, the Palaung State Liberation Front (PSLF), a non-ceasefire armed ethnic group, issued a rallying cry, calling on all citizens of Burma to oppose the elections in whatever way they can. The PSLF vowed to continue their struggle against the elections that will make people of Burma “slaves under the military.” Ethnic leaders from political parties – the Arakan League for Democracy, the United Nationalities Alliance (a coalition of 12 ethnic parties), and the Mon National Democratic Front also declared their opposition to the junta’s elections this week.

On 14 January, at an ASEAN meeting in Vietnam, SPDC Foreign Minister Major General Nyan Win told his counterparts that this year’s elections would be free, fair and credible. However, the junta’s delay in releasing their election laws shows that the regime has no genuine intent on making these elections free, fair or credible as they claim. Taken alongside the military regime’s unwillingness to release political prisoners, engage in national reconciliation through dialogue and review of the Constitution, it is apparent that these elections will be nothing more than an attempt by the military to secure their control in Burma.

In Solidarity,

Burma Partnership Secretariat

News Highlights

National League for Democracy adds 9 members to top decision-making body

Burma named ‘worst of the worst’ for freedom

Inside Burma

Ethnic leaders elected in the 1990 elections reaffirmed that they will not participate in the elections this year without a review of the 2008 Constitution and the release of all political prisoners.

>> Click here for more

The Democratic Party, part of the ‘third force’, said it will reconsider its decision to enter this year’s elections if the announcement of the electoral laws does not leave sufficient time to campaign.

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Activists on the Sino-Burma border carried out a two-day campaign, spray painting slogans against the military’s elections.

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Students in Kachin State, Northern Burma, pasted and distributed 600 posters criticizing the junta’s elections.

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The SPDC began forcibly recruiting people into a people’s militia in Northeastern Shan State to pressurize the Kachin Independence Army.

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The All Burma Monks’ Alliance has urged the SPDC to release two persons who were sentenced to death for releasing state secrets.

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Regional

At least 30 people from Burma were arrested for illegally settling in Cox’s Bazaar, Bangladesh.

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International

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Japanese Foreign Minister Katsuya Okada discussed how to engage Burma and encourage the country to move toward democracy and release Daw Aung San Suu Kyi.

>> Click here for more

Opinion

Burma’s Sordid History of Unfair Elections
By Kay Latt
The Irrawaddy

A Mischievous Quid pro Quo?
By David I Steinberg
The Irrawaddy

Statements, Press Releases and Reports

All Burma Monks’ Association: Statement: Calling for release of all the political prisoners

Palaung State Liberation Front: Statement of Palaung State Liberation Front on the 47th anniversary of Palaung National Revolution Day (English)

Palaung State Liberation Front: Statement of Palaung State Liberation Front on the 47th anniversary of Palaung National Revolution Day (Burmese)

Burma Campaign UK: Press Release: More than 140 MPs call for investigation into crimes against humanity in Burma

Freedom House: Report: Freedom in the World 2010

This post is in: Weekly Highlights