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Action alert: calling for protests against ‘shame elections’ in Burma

By Canadian Friends of Burma  •  October 22, 2010

Canadian Friends of Burma (CFOB) is calling on supporters across Canada to hold a ‘day of action’ on Nov. 6, 2010, in protest of the ‘shame elections’ scheduled on Nov. 7 in Burma.

We are deeply troubled with the ongoing elections in Burma that is not even meeting the lowest level of international standards and the process being carried out in a manner that is not inclusive, transparent and free. Meanwhile, we are also concerned with the continued detention and deployable condition of more than 2,200 political prisoners and appalling human rights and human sufferings in Burma.

For the military, holding the elections is the final step of much-publicized ‘roadmap’ for flourishing a ‘disciplined democracy.’  However, we do not see it as a viable and durable solution for protracted political stalemate– but rather an attempt to cement the military rule that is already the fundamental problem of social, political and economic stigmas in Burma.

The 2008 Constitution that the military carefully engineered for 15 years will be ratified by what would be a rubber-stamp parliaments of both Lower and Upper Houses. It does not seem to be a major problem for the ratification process, as the military-backed party ‘USDP’ and other affiliates are poised to take over a lion’s share of available parliamentary seats, using the state fund, properties and power.

“We already know the outcome – no need to wait and see – there is no miracle out of this,” said Tin Maung Htoo, executive director of Canadian Friends of Burma.  “At the outset, the election is not intended to be free, fair and inclusive. And the military has carefully planned a major victory at this time to avoid another defeat similar to the one in 1990 and to ratify the 2008 Constitution,” he informed.

According to the new Constitution, the Burmese Army must be allowed to play a leading role in Burma politics – a major principle fight with Burmese democratic oppositions – by taking over a quarter of parliamentary seats, key cabinet portfolios such as Home, Defense and Border Areas, and control over the powerful decision-making body – ‘National Security and Defense Council,’ among others.

“Under this circumstance, some might argue that election is a process of democracy and could even create an opportunity. But what we have to remember is that the current election in Burma is a process of legalizing the military rule,” he charged.

“Clearly, this is not democracy Burmese people want to enjoy and the international community wants to see. Therefore, we got to express our concerns and stance,” added Tin Maung Htoo, calling for a day of action on Nov. 6.

Note: if you plan to organize a protest in your city on Nov. 6, please contact us with email or telephone listed below.

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The Canadian Friends of Burma (CFOB) is federally incorporated, national non-governmental organization working for democracy and human rights in Burma. Contact: Suite 206, 145 Spruce St., Ottawa, K1R 6P1; Tel: 613.237.8056; Email: cfob@cfob.org; Web: www.cfob.org

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