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Civil Society Network Calls on ASEAN to Take Serious Action Towards Burma’s Undemocratic Elections

By Task Force on ASEAN and Burma  •  July 19, 2010

The Task Force on ASEAN and Burma today released an open letter to the ASEAN Coordinating Council, urging them to discuss strong concrete actions to deal with ongoing democratic and human rights violations in Burma during this week’s ASEAN Ministerial Meeting.

This week’s ASEAN Ministerial Meeting is an important gathering of regional officials to discuss and decide on policy directives for the ASEAN Summit in October.  The ASEAN Coordinating Council is composed of foreign ministers from each ASEAN member state; the council meets twice a year to prepare the meetings for the ASEAN Summit as well as to discuss coordination and implementation of ASEAN policies.

The open letter states, “ASEAN is endeavoring to move towards greater regional integration by 2015. However, in order to take the region to a higher plane, ASEAN must be willing to take stronger measures to deal with the region’s rogue state.”

ASEAN has been notoriously lax in regards to dealing with the severe political, social and economic issues in Burma. While they have called for the release of all political prisoners in Burma, and have stated that the elections in Burma this year should be free and fair, the geopolitical body has carried out few concrete actions to address the behavior of its most unruly member.

“ASEAN is hoping that the elections can bring enough surface level change in Burma that they then don’t have to do anything. The reality is that human rights problems, economic disasters, and a complete lack of rule of law will continue after the elections. ASEAN is going to have to wake up and realize the consequences of inaction. We as members of Burma’s civil society see the tragic consequences every day,” said Aung Myo Min, coordinator of the Task Force on ASEAN and Burma.

The Task Force on ASEAN and Burma is a diverse network of civil society organizations from Burma working to promote a people-centered ASEAN that is supportive to the cause of democracy, human rights, and peace in Burma.

The ASEAN Inter-Parliamentary Myanmar Caucus, a network of MPs in ASEAN who support democracy in Burma, have called for ASEAN to suspend Burma’s membership unless genuine democratic transition happens.

For more information, please contact:

Khin Ohmar, Member of Task Force on ASEAN and Burma, Coordinator of Burma Partnership: +66 (0) 0818840772

Aung Myo Min, Coordinator of the Task Force on ASEAN and Burma: +66 (0) 819925293

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This post is in: Press Release

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