Thursday, October 25, 2007

Burmese regime needs to be punished

Mizzima News
October 22, 2007 -

The Burmese military junta rejected a U.N. statement calling for negotiations with the opposition, and said it is determined to follow its own seven-step "roadmap to democracy," after the UN Security Council made a presidential statement, which was the first official resolution to receive the full support of the 15-member United Nations Security Council, including China and Russia.

At the same time, the regime refused to allow the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) to visit prisoners, and it continued serious abuses and torture. As usual, the Burmese military junta has come out again with another trick of hoodwinking the people of Burma and the international community in its characteristic style.

The military rulers have appointed an official to liaise with detained pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi, and they have appointed a committee tasked with drafting the country's constitution after September's bloody crackdown and UN envoy Mr Ibrahim Gambari's visit. These announcements are aimed at undermining the on-going UNSC's efforts.

The question is: will Mr Gambari have a chance to meet the senior Generals again or will he only be able to meet liaison officer General Aung Gyi? The time will answer the question. Again the question is: what will United Nations Security Council do as it's the next step given the Burmese regime's defiance and it's using terror as a weapon to prevent slaughtering of monks and civilians?

Obviously, condemnation and resolutions of world bodies are not enough for Burma's ruling Generals. The U.NSC and its members must not fail the Burmese people again when they need protection the most. The UNSC must apply more effective actions on the Burmese regime's brutality and insincerity. The world leaders must bring actual penalties to the Burmese regime and its ruling Generals.

Australia has taken a lead in the diplomatic war on Burma's junta, refusing to accept a military commander as the rogue state's new ambassador to Canberra. The world leaders must apply same diplomatic pressure on the Burma's regime, refusing and expelling diplomats from Burma who had served in the military if the regime continues to refuse the visits of the U.N. Special Rapporteur on Human Rights and ICRC in Burma to conduct and function independently.

The world leaders must understand: it is a trick by the regime and should not keep watching and waiting the regime's Opera show. All stakeholders in Burma do not consider the regime's Road Map to be a sincere political process. The junta's sincerity and genuineness toward Burma and its people can be judged by the facts that people's elected representatives, led by Aung San Suu Kyi and U Tin Oo were unlawfully apprehended after their attempted assassination failed and have still not been released.

Of utmost importance is the unconditional release of all political prisoners, and the ruling Generals must stop arresting, other cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or punishment to innocent civilians. If the regime is to show seriousness and commitment to solve the country's problem, they must move quickly with the process of fundamental change. Failing to implement change will support the call for additional sanctions and legal actions against the oppressive regime.

(The writer Myat Soe is Research Director of Justice for Human Rights in Burma. He graduated from Indiana University , and earned his MBA from Indiana Wesleyan University.)

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