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Military Regime bans Aung San Suu Kyi, political prisoners, monks from participating in the country’s political process, simultaneously pushing towards imminent war with ethnic ceasefire groups (click to view PDF)

U.N. Security Council Action Required Immediately

U.S. Campaign for Burma: Press Release

March 10, 2010
Media Contact: Jennifer Quigley at (202) 234 8022

(March 10, 2010, Washington, DC and New York) The United States Campaign for Burma today strongly denounces the military regime in Burma that has ruled the Southeast Asian country for nearly five decades, for its failure to release all political prisoners, including 1991 Nobel Peace Prize Recipient Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, and banning them from participating in the upcoming election. The regime recently released five laws to govern the process of the election. The Political Parties Registration Law, dated Mar 8, 2010, clearly bans Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, and all political prisoners from not only participating in the election, but also from forming and joining a political party. It also forces her party, the National League for Democracy, to dismiss her and other members, who are in prison, from the party, if they want to continue to exist legally within 60 days. Recently, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon took credit for the regime’s release of these election laws, by saying that “That is what I had been urging the Myanmar authorities to do as soon as possible.” He also said that “without the participation of Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and all key political prisoners, the elections would not be inclusive.”

“There are some international players, who want the regime to hold the election, and who want the NLD and Daw Aung San Suu Kyi to participate in it. The regime’s election laws clearly prohibit their participation. The international community should remove their focus from the sham election and should apply effective pressure on the regime for the release of all political prisoners in Burma and cease all hostilities against ethnic minorities”, says Aung Din, Executive Director of the U.S. Campaign for Burma.

The United Nations, United States, European Union, ASEAN and the international community have been calling for the military regime to initiate a meaningful and time-bound dialogue with Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, her party NLD, and ethnic representatives, for a peaceful political settlement. But the regime has ignored their demands, focusing instead on its own path towards permanent military rule. In 2007, the regime’s handpicked delegates drafted a constitution that enshrines military rule. In May 2008, the regime approved the draft constitution by force and fraud, while the country was devastated by tropical cyclone Nargis, which claimed over 140,000 lives. Now, the military regime is planning to hold the election sometime in 2010 to put the constitution into effect. The constitution also states Burma is to have one army. To ensure this becomes a reality the regime has been drastically increasing pressure on Burma’s ethnic ceasefire groups to agree to their Border Guard Force plan, which would disarm and disband the majority of these groups, without any political guarantee of ethnic rights. Tensions are extremely high between the regime’s troops and ethnic ceasefire groups, who refuse to disarm their armed forces. Both sides are preparing for war and the possibility of intensifying civil war in border area is almost certain in the near future. Efforts by the Chinese government to prevent the regime from attacking the ethnic ceasefire groups and creating instability on China’s western border have proven unsuccessful, concerted international action by the UNSC is necessary to prevent the outbreak of armed conflict in the immediate future.

“This is the time for United Nations Security Council to convene an emergency meeting on Burma and produce an effective resolution, calling for the regime to stop its intimidation and threats against ethnic ceasefire groups and start a genuine negotiation with democracy forces and ethnic representatives to avoid mass protest, instability, and civil war,” continues Aung Din. “Refusal by the regime should lead to an establishment of a UN Commission of Inquiry to investigate war crimes and crimes against humanity in Burma and a ban on arms exports to Burma by the UNSC. I am hoping that President Obama and Secretary Clinton will lead this international initiative without further delay,” said Aung Din.