March 4, 2008

Burma: Rejection of Mockery of Constitution

The National Council of the Union of Burma (NCUB) has issued a declaration calling on Burmese of all backgrounds to reject the junta’s attempts to hide its glaring democratic deficit.

National Council of the Union of Burma (NCUB) has issued a declaration calling on Burmese of all backgrounds to reject the junta’s attempts to hide its glaring democratic deficit.

Below is an article published by UNPO on behalf of the National Council of the Union of Burma:

The Burmese junta’s ‘Seven Steps Policy Program of the State’ or so-called ‘Roadmap to Democracy’ that has been widely sold to the international community as the transition to democracy that Burma has been waiting for since the flaunted election results of 1990.

The moves by the junta to save face in the wake of the events of September 2007 have been widely ridiculed by commentators as nothing more than the latest attempt by the junta to reinforce their rule.  In this instance however, the generals have chosen to enlist the help of a perverse vision of democracy.

Part of this vision is a constitution in which the military retain twenty-five per cent of parliamentary seats, the right to declare a nationwide state of emergency, and make key ministerial appointments.  Meanwhile, the prohibition of Burmese individuals from assuming office if they are married to a foreigner is a clear attempt to neutralise the ongoing popularity of National League for Democracy leader, Aung San Suu Kyi.

Ever since the junta’s State Peace and Development Council reconvened the National Convention which it first suspended in 1996, it has embarked on a series of exercises designed to show a willingness to promote democracy while conceding nothing to the people it has ruled and oppressed for decades. 

Burma’s Constitutional Approval Law, as promulgated by the junta, contains a three year penalty for any actions deemed to have disrupted the referendum planned for May 2008.  This reinforces the existing law, Law 5/96, which prevents any criticism of the National Convention.  Despite these restrictions, Burma’s civil society has sought to engage with the generals but have had their efforts repeatedly rebuffed and their delegates arrested.

Burma’s neighbours and trading partners have shown a palpable relief over this new thin veneer of change.  The risk now exists that the junta’s partners will use this to justify their continued engagement and support for the regime.  It is imperative that the international community continue to voice opposition to the degradation of democratic norms by the Burmese junta. 

The National Council of the Union of Burma therefore joins with its six fellow Burmese organisations in condemning the attempts of the Burmese junta to consolidate its rule by constitutional means.  In support of this, the organisations have issued a statement which is reproduced below:

 
Statement on the Junta’s Announcement on Referendum
by NCUB & 6 Organizations


The junta’s one-sided statements of the 2008/1,2008/2 and 2008/3  are not for sake of the national reconciliation and the national unity, they are aiming merely to consolidate and legalize the military dictatorship through constitutional means, therefore we absolutely oppose them.

 

We declare that:


1.The junta’s one-sided constitution has excluded the participation of the 1990 election winning party led by Aung San Suu Kyi, the leaders of Ethnic Nationalities and the people’s desire and are therefore illegal.

 

2. The junta’s one-sided process is against the result of 1990 election, the roles of the legal political parties and the stand-points of various political forces and international communities [...] .

 

3. We will insistently fight together with all people of Burma against the junta’s constitution, referendum and the 7-step road-map which are merely for sake of the consolidation and legalization of the junta’s dictatorship.

 

4. If the junta neglects the proposal and the desire of all people of Burma and the international communities, we have no choice but call on all people to vote against the junta’s constitution at its referendum in May 2008 and show the people’s will.

 

Signed:

 

1. National Council of the Union of Burma

 

2. National Coalition Government of the Union of Burma

 

3. Ethnic Nationalities Council (Union of Burma)

 

4. Women League of Burma

 

5. Forum for Democracy in Burma

 

6. Students and Youth Congress of Burma

 

7. The Nationalities Youth Forum

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