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ASEAN Rewards Burma for Human Rights Abuses

By Burma Campaign Australia  •  November 18, 2011

ASEAN has missed an opportunity to push for improvements for human rights in Burma, according to Burma activists in Australia.

ASEAN leaders attending a meeting in Indonesia agreed to allow Burma to chair the regional bloc in 2014.

Burma Campaign Australia campaign coordinator Zetty Brake said not enough has changed in Burma to warrant the country chairing ASEAN.

“Since the election in Burma a year ago there have been a significant increase in serious human rights abuses and an escalation in armed conflict, where civilians are deliberately being targeted in military attacks by the Burmese army,” Ms Brake said.

“Furthermore, repression of political rights has not lifted for ordinary people in Burma and political prisoners continue to be arrested and detained.”

“Inviting Burma to chair ASEAN at this time sends the message that you can not only get away with brutally oppressing your people, but you will be rewarded for doing so.  Burma has won the ASEAN chair through its obstinate refusal to undertake real changes towards democracy”

Burma was supposed to chair ASEAN in 2006.  Burma opted not to chair the grouping at that time after significant international pressure.

Ms Brake said it was not in ASEAN’s best interest to allow Burma to chair the regional bloc.

“Burma’s image is one characterised by systematically violating human rights.  It recruits child soldiers, sanctions rape and sexual violence of women and girls, uses slave labour, has forced hundreds of thousands of people to flee military attacks, and imprisoned thousands of political prisoners.  This will be the image that ASEAN portrays to the world in 2014,” Ms Brake said.

For more information call Zetty Brake on 0416 289 235

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This post is in: ASEAN, Press Release

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