Wednesday, March 18, 2009

One more Asean Summit, same old jingle

By John Moe, one of the two Burmese activists recently exiled from Singapore
March 16, 2009, JMoe's Blog

The Association of Southeast Asian Nations’ 14th Asean Summit chairman’s statement was an old folk song used to sang at the Asean summit. Comparatively whilst 13th Asean Summit affiliated in Singapore 2007, Myanmar activists in Singapore peaceful protested Asean Summit at the Orchard Road near the Shangri-la hotel which is the place of Asean governments assembled. Activists displayed large banner of “Listen to Burma’s desires and do not follow Junta’s order” it called for Asean to stop while military soldiers brutal crackdown on the peaceful monk-lead Saffron Revolution.

Subsequently those Myanmar activists were deported from Singapore, Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) and Ministry of Manpower (MOM) notify to Myanmar activists after their immigration passes expired, activists were told to leaves the island without given any reasons. The activists revealed their concerns of overall Myanmar political crisis and courage of national reconciliation. Woefully pro-democracy activists’ lives were end up as refugees.

Myanmar activists from Singapore have been seeking asylum to the United Nation Human Rights Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) around the world such as; Indonesia, Malaysia, Cambodia and United States. An Indonesia civil society helps temporary shelter with assistances for some asylum seekers from Singapore.

Since July 2008 Myanmar activists had been departing Singapore in batches, in fear of facing unjust discriminatory laws and inhumane punishment if they return to Myanmar. Many studied in Singapore chose to build their lives in the island which they consider their second home. They made a choice to live in harmony within a multi-racial society, evidently Singapore government was an ill-treated to the Myanmar those whose were working diligently for freedom and democracy.

Singapore government’s monopoly news media intentionally bent the Myanmar activists image turning it into a ferociousness group, a distorted image used to rebuke the Singapore Democrats Party and Dr Chee Soon Juan.

Expulsion of Myanmar pro-democracy activists from the glamorous island shows accurately the Singapore government is bias towards with Myanmar military junta and ignoring of the over 50 million Myanmar people’s desired despondently. Expulsion of Myanmar activists is not the proper solution, Asean countries have to tackle with the root cause of the military junta's oppressing and violating human rights issue in Myanmar.

14th Chairman’s statement mentioned ASEAN Human Rights Body “promote and protect human rights of ASEAN's peoples would be one of the most important undertakings to make ASEAN a genuinely people-oriented community.” Astonishingly read that statement despite two Civil Society activists could not affiliate under the one roof. That was absolutely discontent for the Asean leaders ineffectively negotiate with military Junta and Cambodia counterpart for their dissent. Even though Asean charter stated under article (2) (i) Respect for fundamental freedoms, the promotion and protection of human rights, and the promotion of social justice.

No matter how the entire world convinces Myanmar military elites to respect human rights; the words of Human Rights, Democracy and Civil Society are yet to translate into Myanmar language for the military junta’s dictionary.

For the evidences learnt from the past, to be cautious for the 2010 general election and aware of Myanmar military junta’s tactics; Myanmar constitutional referendum was hold in Singapore for Myanmar national to vote, that was first time such a practise outside the country of Myanmar, during the Myanmar referendum held at St Martin's Drive in April 2008, thousands of Myanmar arrived to their embassy where officials repeatedly refused to accept Myanmar voters due to unfavourable votes. Only Myanmar with invitations to vote was admitted. In majority of voters were not granted an invitation although they had their right to vote as abiding tax payers to Myanmar government. There are about 80,000 eligible Myanmar voters but about 3,000 junta’s supporters were the only one permitted to vote.

Asean nations failed to react on the super-ultra cheated referendum in 2008 nationwide. Instead of reacts on treacherous regime, Myanmar activists were receive typically brusque action from Singapore government in spite of many Singaporeans expressed their conciliated public opinion of Myanmar activists on peaceful protests.

Ultimately military announced the constitution had been approved by 92.48% of voters, Notwithstanding 14th Asean Chairman’s statement had expressed again forthcoming Myanmar general election, statement said “the release of political detainees and the inclusion of all political parties in the political process leading to the general elections in 2010”. Singing again the old jingle, it is dubious speculation for the release of all political prisoners and the political parties’ participation. Obviously military general doesn’t allow single attendee from civil society to coven face to face at the Asean summit. Will there be any opportunity for Myanmar opposition party to take part in the 2010 general election. There seems to be The Unite Nations, Asean and the western leaders’ shows their optimism for 2010 general election which is already thrown into abyss.

The two Civil Society activists episode, palpably exposed military junta have had more influences to Asean than Asean influences onto military general clique. Asean incurred the opprobrium due to labyrinthine military generals.

Asean leaders should not believe military junta’s travesty anymore. This is the time Asean to halt defensive posture for the military elites. If Asean is not seriously address the political root cause of Myanmar, there will never conclude problems of Rohingya migrants, ethnics’ rebellions along the border, drugs trafficking and discrediting of Asean nations.

Presently, Asean leaders have been signalling western nations to lift up sanctions on Myanmar. If the western and European lifted up the sanctions on Myanmar, there will be huge victory for plethoric wealthiest generals and their business ethos. Ultimately there will not occurred genuine change of Myanmar politics. Sanctions should hold up until post election 2010 for the counterproductive of democratisation process of Myanmar.

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