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It’s time ASEAN and the UN step up to the task: Investigate abuses, reject election and support Aung San Suu Kyi, urges AIPMC

By ASEAN Inter-Parliamentary Myanmar Caucus  •  November 15, 2010

The release of Aung San Suu Kyi offers new hope for Myanmar. But her release does not solve any of the fundamental problems in the country. The world must continue to work for the freedom of the people of Myanmar.

Another 2,200 political prisoners remain behind bars. Last week’s election reignited ethnic tensions and triggered fresh fighting along the Thai-Myanmar border. Any return to fighting increases the risk of fresh human rights abuses primarily targeting the country’s ethnic nationalities and of new waves of refugees being forced to leave their homes for safety.

ASEAN and its member states must now urgently pressure Myanmar to guarantee Aung San Suu Kyi’s security, freedom of movement and freedom of expression, release all political prisoners immediately and unconditionally and cease attacks on civilians. ASEAN also needs to support a proposal by the UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Myanmar to establish a Commission of Inquiry under UN auspices to look into possible war crimes and crimes against humanity in Myanmar, and to take practical steps towards its realization.

The recent election was an ugly display of power by the regime in Myanmar. The election was marred by massive fraud and will not bring about a democratic government that will seek the sustainable development of the country. The international community – ASEAN and the UN – must now prepare itself to reject the election. The UN should eventually step in and organize a new election in Myanmar.

ASEAN has urged Myanmar to work with ASEAN and the UN. But ASEAN needs to turn these words into action. The credibility of the organization is already plummeting over its response to the election. ASEAN and the UN must now extend their full support to Aung San Suu Kyi and pressure Myanmar so that the long-sought after tripartite dialogue between the military regime, the pro-democracy movement under the leadership of Aung San Suu Kyi, and the ethnic groups can finally come about.

On Thailand:

The Royal Thai government and the Thai people have for long shown their generosity and provided shelter and assistance to refugees fleeing fighting and abuses in Myanmar. The AIPMC joins the call of local civil society in Thailand for the Royal Thai Government to continue to allow people who are fleeing fighting inside Myanmar and who are afraid to return due to the unsafe conditions, to remain in temporary shelters in Thai territory.

Local and international organizations acted quickly in their response to the most recent crisis along the border between the two countries. The AIPMC joins local civil society in Thailand in appealing to the Royal Thai Government to continue to allow the UN and international humanitarian organizations to access and provide essential assistance to temporary refugees on Thai soil as well as internally displaced persons near the Thai border inside Myanmar and to urge these organizations to work closely with local community-based groups in providing assistance to civilians fleeing conflict.

On Indonesia:

Having experienced under 30 years military dictatorship, the Indonesian has committed to eliminate all forms of authoritarianism. AIPMC feels regret with the statement of Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Marty Natalegawa which descend from the determination on bringing the issue on election in the ASEAN Summit.

AIPMC Indonesian National Caucus therefore urges the Government of Indonesia to take firmer position on the agenda of restoring democracy and eliminating human rights violation in Myanmar. AIPMC urges the Indonesian government, particularly the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, that the ministry should take the opportunity for being the next chairman of ASEAN in 2011 to give significant leadership in the region. This chairmanship should be considered as opportunity to evaluate Myanmar’s commitment to uphold ASEAN Charter and its membership into the ASEAN. Indonesia should stop being fooled by the non-credible cosmetic election and the abusing of universal principle of non-interference for maintaining more than 2200 political prisoners, attacking the civilian and eliminating the basic freedom of the people.

For further comment/ media interviews with AIPMC Parliamentarians do contact Aticha Wongwian at +66 863863494 (Thailand), Edmund Teoh +60123750974 (Malaysia), Agung Putri Astrid +62 81514006416 (Indonesia, Singapore, Cambodia, Philippines)

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This post is in: Press Release

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