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ASEAN All Talk, No Action on Burma

By Burma Partnership  •  April 12, 2010

ASEAN held their 16th Summit this past week in Hanoi, Vietnam, where they discussed enhancing economic cooperation and inaugurated the Commission on the Promotion and Protection of the Rights of Women and Children (ACWC). The ASEAN leaders were also forced to discuss the issues of Burma’s human rights situation under the military regime and it’s manipulation of the electoral process in the lead up to this year’s polls.

The collective statement issued at the conclusion of the summit said that the leaders had “underscored the importance of national reconciliation in [Burma] and the holding of the general election in a free, fair and inclusive manner.” Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung said the elections should be “free and democratic with the participation of all parties.” However, one can recall that last week Dung visited Burma where he signed seven contracts and joint agreements without discussing human rights or the elections.

The ASEAN bloc has failed yet again to take any concrete actions to help ensure the junta meets essential benchmarks towards national reconciliation, despite calls from Burmese and international civil society, and 105 Members of Parliament from the ASEAN Inter-Parliamentary Myanmar Caucus (AIPMC). Burma’s junta is doing everything in its power to ensure their victory in these elections. If ASEAN really wants to move forward with its regional development plan, it must take strong and effective actions to pressure the regime now. Time is running out.

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