Constitution must be revised before election: opposition leaders

by Salai Pi Pi
Monday, 26 October 2009 21:23

New Delhi (Mizzima) – Prominent Burmese opposition leaders say the junta’s planned 2010 elections cannot be inclusive and broad-based unless the 2008 Constitution is first revised.

Win Tin, a veteran politician and senior member of the opposition National League for Democracy (NLD) party, said in order to make the 2010 election inclusive the 2008 Constitution must be amended, as the document, which he asserts enshrines military-rule, will essentially bar all dissidents including Aung San Suu Kyi from participating in the poll.

“The constitution does not allow any political prisoners their electoral rights, and this will also include Aung San Suu Kyi,” Win Tin clarified. “Therefore, it is necessary that the constitution is revised before the election.”

Win Tin’s comments came in response to a statement from the Burmese Prime Minister at the 15th Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) summit, concluded on Sunday.

The Burmese Premier, Thein Sein, reportedly ensured leaders of the 10-member ASEAN bloc meeting in Thailand that the 2010 elections would be free, fair and inclusive of all stakeholders.

Thein Sein also commented that Aung San Suu Kyi could be allowed to play a role in national reconciliation, further hinting that the regime may relax restrictions on the detained opposition leader if she maintains a “good attitude.” Continue reading “Constitution must be revised before election: opposition leaders”

ASIA: Human rights body’s shaky beginnings

HUA HIN, 26 October 2009 (IRIN) – After only a few days Southeast Asia’s inter-governmental human rights body is already being criticized over its terms of reference as well as its ability to have any impact on human rights in Myanmar.

The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) launched its Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights (AICHR) on 23 October with the signing of the Cha-am Hua Hin Declaration at the 15th ASEAN summit held in Hua Hin, Thailand, over the weekend.

Thailand’s Prime Minister and ASEAN chairman Abhisit Vejjajiva said it “showed the commitment of ASEAN member-states to realize the historic quest of the people of Southeast Asia for freedom”.

But critics say its mandate is limited and that its undertaking to “promote human rights within the regional context, bearing in mind national and regional particularities and mutual respect for different historical, cultural and religious backgrounds” does not go far enough, given that Myanmar continues to be cited by human rights watchdogs as one of the world’s worst violators.

Kraisak Choonhavan, chairman of the ASEAN Inter-parliamentary Myanmar Caucus, said the country’s military government had yet to demonstrate a willingness to adhere to principles of democratic governance under the ASEAN charter.

And ASEAN’s long-held assertion that Myanmar’s political and human rights issues were internal affairs was no longer applicable, particularly since such problems had affected other countries in the region, he said. Continue reading “ASIA: Human rights body’s shaky beginnings”

Wa, Mongla to visit junta leaders


The United Wa State Army (UWSA) and the National Democratic Alliance Army-Eastern Shan State (NDAA-ESS) better known as the Mongla group, which are still rejecting the junta’s demand to become Burma Army run Border Guard Force (BGFs), are reportedly planning to visit some Burma Army commanders very soon, according to reliable sources close to the groups’ leadership.

An informed Wa source confirmed that the aim of the visit is to restore existing peace between the Burma Army and the Wa, because both sides have not been in touch since the Wa refused the junta’s demand to transform themselves as border security force in June.

“If both remain intransigent, peace between that has lasted 20 years will be in vain,” he quoted a Wa leader as saying.

Since the Wa’s rejection to the Burma Army’s proposal in June, tension between the two sides has been high and both have beefed up more troops, weapons and supplies to border areas between them.

Likewise, Mongla that is also sending its delegation to Kengtung soon says for peace to last, each side must be willing to meet half way.

However, dates of the visit are so far unavailable. Continue reading “Wa, Mongla to visit junta leaders”

Ten explosions hit Kokang capital

Oct 26, 2009 (DVB)–More than 10 simultaneous blasts hit Burma’s northeastern Shan state last week, the site of heavy fighting earlier this year between government troops and an ethnic army.

The explosions happened in Laogai, the capital of the Kokang special region in Shan state, sources located near to Burma’s border with China said.
Five government army battalions had been deployed there following heavy fighting in August that pushed some 37,000 civilians across the border into China.
The number of casualties from the blasts is so far unknown. One device exploded on Saturday close to a gold shop owned by the current leader of the ethnic Kokang army, Bai Xuoquan.
Government troops launched an offensive against the Kokang group, the Myanmar National Democratic Alliance Army (MNDAA), in August this year, breaking a 20-year ceasefire agreement.
The MNDAA had been resisting pressure from Burma’s ruling State Peace and Development Council (SPDC) to transform into a border guard force prior to the 2010 elections. Continue reading “Ten explosions hit Kokang capital”