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The United Nations Urged to Reject the Military Regime’s Election in Burma (click to view PDF)

Crimes against Humanity by the Regime Should Be Investigated

U.S. Campaign for Burma- Press Release
March 29, 2010
Media Contact: Mike Haack at (202) 234 8022

(Washington, DC) The United States Campaign for Burma, a leading coalition of Burmese activists in exile and American human rights campaigners working to promote freedom, justice and democracy in the Southeast Asian country of Burma, wholeheartedly supports the decision of the National League for Democracy (NLD), to boycott the regime’s sham election. The NLD is the legitimate leader of Burma’s democracy movement and the decision was made unanimously by over 100 NLD leaders during a meeting today at party headquarters in Rangoon. The NLD, led by the world’s only imprisoned Nobel Peace Prize Recipient, Aung San Suu Kyi, won a landslide victory in the 1990 election, held by the same military regime, which refused to honor the election result and never convened a Parliament.

20 years later, the regime issued a set of electoral laws on March 8, 2010, and officially abolished the 1990 election result. With these laws, NLD was forced to accept the regime’s new constitution, which was written by the regime’s cronies and designed to establish a permanent military dictatorship in Burma. The constitution was then approved by a fraudulent vote in 2008, in the immediate aftermath of Cyclone Nargis, which devastated major parts of the country and claimed more than 140,000 lives. The regime threatened to abolish the NLD if it does not (1) expel Aung San Suu Kyi and other party members who are serving prison terms, (2) contest in the 2010 election, and (3) re-register at the Election Commission within 60 days. Today, with their decision not to register at the Commission, NLD leaders sent a clear message to Than Shwe, paramount leader of the military regime, saying that they will not bow to the pressure and injustices of the regime.

“This is a courageous call by the NLD leaders and I am very proud of them,” says Aung Din, Executive Director of the U.S. Campaign for Burma. “They all choose to continue to stand together with Aung San Suu Kyi and all political prisoners, as well as the people of Burma by rejecting the regime’s sham election. They made history,” continues Aung Din. Ethnic political parties and the people of Burma welcomed the NLD’s decision. The United Nationalities Alliance, a coalition of 12 ethnic political parties that won altogether 67 seats in the 1990 election, announced a few days earlier that they would not participate in the election.

Tensions between the regime and ethnic ceasefire groups at the border areas are extremely high, as well. Several armed ethnic groups have called on the regime to revise its constitution, refused to disband their troops and will not contest in the election. The regime has deployed tens of thousands of soldiers to ethnic minority areas while ethnic troops prepare to protect their homelands.

“The United Nations must intervene in Burma right now,” said Aung Din. “It should reject the regime’s election. It should apply effective pressure on the regime to release all political prisoners, including Aung San Suu Kyi, and start a meaningful political dialogue. The United Nations also must set up a commission of inquiry to investigate war crimes and crimes humanity in Burma as recommended by Special Rapporteur Mr. Tomas Ojea Quintana.” said Aung Din.