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Global Day of Action on 27 May to Oppose the Military Elections

By Ten Alliances  •  May 21, 2010

Burma Needs a Real Election, Not a Military Selection

On 27 May [1], the 20th anniversary of Burma’s 1990 elections, we ask for solidarity groups across the world to mobilize in a unified action and call upon their governments to stand with the people of Burma, denounce the military’s sham elections, and call for real democratic change.

Background: Twenty years ago, on 27 May 1990, the National League for Democracy (NLD) and other democratic parties won a landslide victory in Burma’s elections. Although the military junta had initially promised a transfer of power, it refused to recognize the results of the elections. The junta jailed many opposition politicians or forced them into exile. This repressive dictatorship has continued to this day.

The regime has once again promised to hold democratic elections, but preparations and recently released election laws indicate that these elections are a thinly veiled attempt to legitimize continued military rule. With the ongoing imprisonment of almost 2,200 political prisoners including Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, attacks against ethnic communities, attempts to force ethnic armies to join the new “Border Guard Force,” ratification of the flawed 2008 Constitution through coercion, and electioneering efforts by former military commanders masquerading as civilian politicians, the military junta has made it clear that it intends to win the 2010 elections by any means available.

Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, the NLD, and many other opposition parties have all taken a strong stance against the elections; in a firm rejection of the flawed election laws and the 2008 Constitution, the NLD has decided not to contest in the elections. Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and the NLD have taken their case to the Supreme Court, arguing against the unfair election laws that dictate the dissolution of the NLD and other unregistered parties. Ethnic leaders have similarly resisted the Junta’s intervention, with the majority of ethnic ceasefire groups currently rejecting the military’s Border Guard Force proposals.

Aim: Unified worldwide actions in support of the people of Burma that call on governments to denounce the elections and to refuse to recognize the results unless key benchmarks [2] for national reconciliation are met. The suggested action commemorates the 1990 elections, demonstrates support for the NLD, Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and the people of Burma, and calls for truly democratic people’s elections.

Action:

  • Groups make (1) a large replica ballot box decorated with images of people of Burma, (2) postcards with an image of a voting ballot on the front with the options of “Real Election” or “Military Selection.” The back of the postcards reiterates the calls from Burma’s democracy movement to international governments. Burma Partnership will provide the graphic and text.
  • Volunteers will hand out postcards to passersby, asking them to sign the postcards and drop the postcard into the ballot box, thus casting their vote for a “Real Election.”
  • Groups will deliver or mail postcards to their respective governments.
  • Groups can then send a description, photos and video of the event to Burma Partnership (burma2010campaign@gmail.com) as well as local and international media.

Objectives:

  1. To show solidarity and support for the NLD and democratic groups inside Burma opposed to the elections.
  2. To inform the international community that military elections are not a solution for Burma; if anything, they will cement the military’s hold on Burma and ensure the continued repression of its people.
  3. To attract a high level of worldwide media coverage.
  4. To raise public awareness by holding a visible public action in a highly populated area or at a government/parliament building.
  5. To collect and mail a large number of signed postcards to governments calling on them to denounce the military elections.

[1] If 27 May is not suitable, we suggest sometime between 27 May – 30 May (the anniversary of the Depayin Massacre)

[2] (1) Release all political prisoners, including Daw Aung San Suu Kyi; (2) Cease attacks against ethnic groups and democracy activists; and, (3) Engage in genuine dialogue with all stakeholders, including a review of the 2008 Constitution

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