Saturday, 31 March 2012

အာဆီယံ အတြင္းေရးမွဴးခ်ဳပ္ရဲ႕ ကုိယ္စားလွယ္အဖဲြ႔ ၈၈ မ်ိဳးဆက္ ေက်ာင္းသားေတြနဲ႔ ေတြ႔ဆုံ


Photo courtesy of 88 Generation Student website

၂၀၁၂ ခုႏွစ္ မတ္လ ၂၃ ရက္တြင္ ၈၈ မ်ိဳးဆက္ ေက်ာင္းသားေခါင္းေဆာင္မ်ား ဦးစီးၿပီး ေရြးေကာက္ပြဲ ေစာင့္ၾကည့္ ေလ့လာမႈကြန္ယက္ ဖြဲ႕စည္းသည့္ အခမ္းအနား၌ ကိုမင္းကိုႏိုင္ စကားေျပာေနစဥ္။


လာမယ့္ ဧၿပီလ ၁ ရက္ေန႔ ၾကားျဖတ္ ေရြးေကာက္ပဲြကုိ ေလ့လာဖုိ႔ ေရာက္ရွိေနတဲ့ အာဆီယံ အတြင္းေရးမွဴးခ်ဳပ္ရဲ႕ ကုိယ္စားလွယ္အဖဲြ႔ဟာ ၈၈ မ်ိဳးဆက္ေက်ာင္းသားေတြနဲ႔ ဒီကေန႔ သြားေရာက္ေတြ႔ဆုံ ေဆြးေႏြးခဲ့ပါတယ္။

၈၈ မ်ိဳးဆက္ေက်ာင္းသားေတြ လုပ္ေဆာင္ေနတဲ့ ေရြးေကာက္ပဲြ ေစာင့္ၾကည့္ေရး လုပ္ငန္းေတြကုိ သိလုိတဲ့အတြက္ လာေရာက္ေမးျမန္း စံုစမ္းတာျဖစ္ေၾကာင္း ၈၈ မ်ိဳးဆက္ေက်ာင္းသား ေခါင္းေဆာင္ ကုိကုိႀကီးက ေျပာပါတယ္။

အာဆီယံ ကုိယ္စားလွယ္အဖဲြ႔ အေနနဲ႔ ေရြးေကာက္ပဲြ ေလ့လာေရး လုပ္ငန္းေတြအတြက္ ျပင္ဆင္ဖုိ႔ အခ်ိန္မလုံေလာက္တာေၾကာင့္ ၈၈ မိ်ဳးဆက္ေက်ာင္းသားေတြ လုပ္ကုိင္ေနတဲ့ ေရြးေကာက္ပဲြ ေစာင့္ၾကည့္ေရး လုပ္ငန္းေတြကေန အကူအညီေတြ ရယူႏုိင္ဖုိ႔ကုိလည္း အဲဒီ ကုိယ္စားလွယ္အဖဲြ႔က ေဆြးေႏြးခဲ့ပါတယ္။

၈၈ မ်ိဳးဆက္ေက်ာင္းသားေတြက ေရြးေကာက္ပဲြ ေစာင့္ၾကည့္ေရးအဖဲြ႔ တစ္ဖြဲ႔ကို ဖြဲ႔စည္းျပီး ေရြးေကာက္ပဲြ အႀကိဳကာလအတြင္း စည္းမ်ဥ္းဥပေဒေတြနဲ႔ မကုိက္ညီတဲ့ အခ်က္ေတြကုိ ေစာင့္ၾကည့္ မွတ္တမ္းတင္ေနသလုိ၊ လာမယ့္ ဧၿပီလ ၁ ရက္ေန႔မွာလည္း ေရြးေကာက္ပဲြ က်င္းပျပဳလုပ္မယ့္ ၿမိဳ႕နယ္ေတြကုိ ျဖန္႔ခြဲသြားေရာက္ၿပီး ေစာင့္ၾကည့္ ေလ့လာဖုိ႔ကုိလည္း စီစဥ္ထားပါတယ္။

ဒီသတင္းနဲ ့ ပတ္သက္ျပီး ေရြးေကာက္ပဲြ ေစာင့္ၾကည့္ေရး လုပ္ငန္းေတြကုိ ဦးေဆာင္လုပ္ကုိင္ေနတဲ့ ၈၈ မ်ိဳးဆက္ ေက်ာင္းသားေခါင္းေဆာင္ တစ္ဦးျဖစ္တဲ့ ကုိကုိႀကီးကုိ အာအက္ဖ္ေအ အဖြဲ႔သား ကုိေဇာ္မုိးေက်ာ္က ဆက္သြယ္ေမးျမန္းထားပါတယ္။

By-elections, democracy and sanctions


By BILL DAVIS
Published: 31 March 2012

This week’s elections in Burma will no doubt add to the hype about democratic change in the country and have apologists of the nominally civilian government calling for the international community to drop economic sanctions.

If the elections are indeed fair, and this is a big “if,” it would certainly be a first in Burma and a benchmark on the path to democracy. But there are only four dozen Parliamentary seats up for grabs in this week’s election, so even if there is no foul play, then only a sliver of the Parliament would have been elected through a fair and transparent process. The winners of this election, and the rest of Parliament, would remain under the control of the military – as dictated by Burma’s 2008 Constitution.

A fair election would mark a departure from Burma’s corrupt past, but it is not reason enough for the international community to stop pushing for continued change. Nor is it reason to give amnesty for past human rights abuses or to allow sanctions to expire.

The US Congress has emphasised several criteria that must be met before sanctions are dropped, and these conditions should serve as a scorecard on which to measure democratic progress: unconditionally release all political prisoners; allow humanitarian access to populations in all areas of armed conflict; and end human rights violations, including rape, forced labor, child labor, and the use of child soldiers.

The Burmese government has partially met some of these conditions, but it still has a long way to go, and implementing substantive change will take time. For example, ending human rights violations does not just mean halting abuses but also ending impunity for violations and ensuring accountability for past crimes.

Burma needs to ensure that perpetrators of human rights violations can be held accountable according to internationally recognised legal standards, which demands the establishment of the rule of law. The judiciary in Burma is not independent from the rest of the government, and ensuring this independence is a necessary element of ensuring fairness and transparency in the country’s judiciary.

Burma also needs to shift from militarisation and build a truly civilian government that can keep its military in check. And lastly, it needs to stop violence against civilians, egregious human rights violations, and denial of humanitarian aid in ethnic areas.

This is no small problem: ethnic minorities comprise about a third of the population of Burma, and these areas have a long history of human rights abuses.

Burma needs to ensure that perpetrators of human rights violations can be held accountable

Physicians for Human Rights (PHR) have documented recent human rights abuses in several ethnic areas in Burma—in Karen, Shan, Kachin, and Chin States. When asked if they would return to Burma given the recent changes, refugees have answered with a resounding “no”—some refugees even laughed in my ace at the question.

With decades of violence and corruption to reflect upon, refugees have said that they don’t trust the government and do not believe that the changes are genuine. Indeed, extrajudicial killings, forced labor, religious persecution, and pillaging are still widely reported in these areas. Accounting for these violations would be a major step towards democracy.

If Burma is truly transitioning to democracy, it is certainly in the earliest of stages. With so many more changes still needed in Burma, it would be foolish to allow all sanctions to expire. The international community should not give up its bargaining chips too soon.

The sanction legislation calls for specific criteria that must be met, including the unconditional release of political prisoners, the granting of humanitarian access, and an end to human rights violations. PHR continues to support the renewal of sanctions until each of these essential elements is actualised. Additionally, PHR calls on the U.S. government to continue to use sanctions as key leverage until the Burmese government is able to make peace with its own people over past and present abuses.

Change may happen in Burma, but it will not happen overnight. The international community and the business interests pushing to end sanctions must show patience and should not reward modest changes with hefty rewards. Sanctions must remain until more substantive reforms become a reality.

Bill Davis is the Burma Project Director for Physicians for Human Rights

‘Elections Neither Free Nor Fair,’ Says Suu Kyi



Aung San Suu Kyi cited repeated incidences of intimidation on the campaign trail. (Photo: Irrawaddy)


RANGOON—Pro-democracy icon Aung San Suu Kyi said that Sunday’s by-elections will be neither free nor fair because of widespread irregularities, but vowed to continue her candidacy to press forward with reform.

The Nobel laureate said opposition candidates had suffered stone-throwing incidents and other intimidation that hampered their campaigning in the run-up to the weekend poll.

The ballot is considered a crucial test of Burma’s commitment to democratic reforms and may well herald the end to punitive economic sanctions imposed by Western nations.

The 66-year-old told a press conference that the irregularities go “beyond what is acceptable for democratic elections.”

“I don’t think we can consider it genuinely free and fair if we consider what has been going on for the last couple months,” she said. “We’ve had to face many irregularities.”

When asked how far she would go to dispute the result, Suu Kyi said she would wait and see.

“We will have to see how the polling goes .. if the will of the people is represented,” she said. “We will have to see if these irregularities affect the result.”

Suu Kyi said there were attempts to injure candidates and cited two cases in which stones or other objects were thrown at members of her opposition National League for Democracy (NLD), even causing one of the party’s security guards to be hospitalized.

There were “many, many cases of intimidation” and vandalism of party campaign posters. She blamed some of the acts on “people in official positions.”

Despite the irregularities, Suu Kyi said that the party is “determined to go forward because we think that is what our people want.”

The by-elections are likely to mark a symbolic turning point by bringing Suu Kyi into Parliament for the first time, an event that would raise hopes for a more representative government after half-a-century of repressive military rule.

The by-elections will fill 45 vacant seats in Burma’s 664-seat Union Parliament.

A victory by Suu Kyi and her opposition NLD would do little to alter the balance of power in Parliament but would give her a voice in government for the first time.

Asked how she wanted to aid the nation, she replied, “in a way to help all the ethnic nationalities to live peacefully and happily with one another.

“I don’t need an official position but if it makes my work more effective then why not. We have very unreasonable expectations!—we want to win as many constituencies as possible.”

And Suu Kyi vowed to make reconciliation in Burma a priority should she win a parliamentary seat.

“We have differences of opinion within the government … but we have faced many challenges over the years and we will face many more. I feel we can have a voice within Parliament even if we win about 44 seats.”

And Suu Kyi said she was overwhelmed with the strength of support she encountered on the campaign trail.

“Lots of people approached me during the campaign but particularly children jumping up and down and shouting for the NLD,” she said.

“I’m not going to visit all the polling stations [in Kawhmu Township where she is standing] but I would like to visit some of them—I do not want to [have] a disruptive effect.

And Suu Kyi said that there were few countries which have had such a chequered history as Burma with respect of prolonged conflict and related abuses.

“We are confident that we too can achieve reconciliation despite our record of violence and violation of human rights,” she said.

When asked if she believed that Burma could learn from the South African model of reform, she was positive.

“Certainly we would like to learn from as many countries as possible,” she said. “We would like to study all different patterns of reconciliation and see what we can gain from experiences elsewhere.

“We haven’t even really started our process of reconciliation officially. We are very interested in how other countries went about it and negotiated settlements.”

When asked whether she would want the perpetrators of human rights abuses to face trial, Suu Kyi quoted Arch-Bishop Desmond Tu-Tu, a fellow Nobel Peace Prize winner, in that, “what we believe in is not retributive justice but restorative justice.”

Suu Kyi denied that she has had discussions with the government of China regarding democracy, but said that the by-elections were positive for the entire region.

“It’s a step towards step one towards democracy,” she said. “For the Asean community it’s an opportunity to assess if real reforms have taken place or might be taking place in the near future.

“Democracy in this country will be a victory for our people. Once we get into Parliament we will be able to start building towards democratization.”

Serious Voter List Fraud Uncovered by Observer

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A man looks at election material posted outside a polling station in central Rangoon during the 2010 general elections which were widely condemned for vote-rigging. (Photo: Reuters)



An international election observer has uncovered a series of serious voter list irregularities ahead of Sunday’s crucial by-elections in Burma.

A total of 45 parliamentary seats are up for grabs in the weekend ballot but a preliminary report has uncovered the same name repeated up to 20 times and many dead people included on voter lists.

“The party’s members from the Maha Aung Myay Township said that they found a single name repeated as many as 15 or 20 times,” wrote the observer, who requested to remain anonymous, concerning Thanhlyat constituency in Mandalay.

“[The] name of a voter has been detected in two different polling stations. The names have the same name, father’s name and the NRC number,” said the report.

“Names of dead people in the voters list are in plenty. This perhaps reflects the inability of the heads of wards, villages and townships in entering the data correctly during the enumeration process.”

There were also problems in the Burmese capital Naypyidaw, according to the report.

“There have been allegations from the some groups, mainly NLD [National League for Democracy], that names of ghost voters have been entered in the list and migrant workers who have moved out of Naypyidaw and settled elsewhere permanently are being asked to come back to vote by showing that they are still registered as voters in the above mentioned constituencies,” he said.

NLD leader Aung San Suu Kyi told a press conference on Friday that she was well aware of voting irregularities and that the by-elections “could not be considered free or fair.”

“Violation of the election law continues to happen,” she said. “We have asked them two times about violations of the regulations. But, they have not told us anything yet about this,” she said.

Tin Aye, chairman of the Union Election Commission, said that the government will conduct a free and fair election.

Thursday, 29 March 2012