As UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights Tomas Ojea Quintana today starts his five-day visit in Burma, solidarity activists in the Philippines urged the UN envoy to prioritize on his agenda the “protection of human rights” of the peoples of Burma since the military regime is reportedly cracking down legitimate dissent ahead of polls this year.
Mr. Quintana is scheduled to meet Myanmar foreign minister Nyan Win for his Sittwe visit in Western Rakhine state, close to the country’s border with Bangladesh. This will be the envoy’s third visit to the country after a previous mission last year was postponed.
Free Burma Coalition-Philippines (FBC-Phils) spokesperson Egoy Bans said, “after two decades since 1990, the peoples of Burma will again exercise their universal right to suffrage by choosing a kind of government that they want. But this election will become meaningless if it will be pursued with brute force. It must be made all-inclusive where everybody could participate without fears of being harassed and intimidated.”
“Until now, there is no real progress in Burma and the human rights situation is worse than before. Not a few envoys made an attempt to bring change in Burma but all have failed miserably. We urge envoy Quintana to make a difference by closely engaging the military generals on the improvement of Burma’s human rights record,” Bans added.
THE 2010 ELECTIONS MUST POSSESS “DEMOCRATIC INTEGRITY”
FBC-Phils likewise urged UN Envoy Quintana to carry the minimum demands of the Burma democracy movement that include the immediate release of more than 2,000 political prisoners in Burma including democracy icon Aung San Suu Kyi, cessation of hostilities against ethnic nationalities and an all-inclusive review of the 2008 Burma constitution.
“By genuinely satisfying these demands, the military regime will not struggle hard to bring ‘democratic integrity’ to the 2010 elections that could be a giant step to genuine national reconcilliation – if only the junta realizes it,” Bans said.
He concluded, “but if the regime continues to refuse these legitimate demands, no amount of national elections could become acceptable and credible in the eyes of their own people and the international community.”
In 1990, the military regime of Burma held a multi-party elections where Daw Aung San Suu Kyi’s party, the National League for Democracy (NLD) won majority of the parliament seats. The military regime however did not recognize the election results and refused to hand-over power to elected civilian parties.
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