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Shame ASEAN for Burmese Military Regime’s Participation

On the 8th of the 8th 1967, ASEAN was born. The 5 countries that signed the ASEAN Declaration joined together for shared peace and prosperity.

Today, ASEAN certainly enjoys more prosperity, but co-operative peace is an issue that presents a recurring nightmare for ASEAN members.

ASEAN had a shocking coming of age party. On its 21st birthday - the 8th of the 8th 1988 - Burma, a country projected to join the fold, shot down thousands of peaceful, unarmed pro-democracy protesters on the streets of Rangoon.

In 1990, the same regime ignored the results of a governmental election they called but dismally lost.

The other ASEAN members sought to influence the regime by bringing it into their club. This approach has been an unmitigated failure; the regime continues to use non-co-operative, non-peaceful methods to rule. ASEAN has chosen to keep such a member in their midst.

ASEAN itself has grown weary of the Burmese regime’s lack of political will to change. Member countries expressed their disappointment and displeasure when the regime ambushed Daw Aung San Suu Kyi's cavalcade on May 30th 2003. When Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, U Tin Oo and other NLD leaders were arrested and put in detention, ASEAN members officially called for their release in July 2003.

The Bangkok Process was initiated to spur much needed political change in Burma, and to create a "road map" for co-operative peace. But the regime is not attending any further meetings and the country's National Convention, fully orchestrated by the regime as it is, has been postponed.

We call on ASEAN to stop tolerating this abuse, and to demand that the SPDC stands down from ASEAN before it takes the chair in 2006.

ASEAN and the international community should put in place a process to ensure the 2006 chairmanship is filled by the democratically elected leaders of Burma.

We call on the people of ASEAN countries to demand it takes real steps towards promoting peace in the region.

This should include monitoring all members' - and particularly Burma's - implementation of the "Declaration on the Elimination of Violence Against Women in the ASEAN Region" (June 30th 2004).

Asia and Europe will meet at the Fifth Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM 5) in Hanoi in October 2004. As a member of ASEAN, Burma is supposed to attend.

We do not expect the people of Europe to accept their representatives entering into discussion with a military that conscripts children, systematically rapes ethnic women and detains the rightful leaders of the country under house arrest.

We also call on the EU to maintain its position to refuse Burma's military dictatorship a place at the October ASEM meeting.

Action Network for Migrants
Alternative Asean Network on Burma (Altsean-Burma) 
Arakan Liberation Party (ALP)
Chin Students' Union (CSU)
Students and Youth Congress of Burma – SYCB (India)
Member organizations of the SYCB-India are-
All Burma Students' League (ABSL)
All Burma Students' Democratic Front (ABSDF)
All Arakan Students and Youth Congress (AASYC)
All Kachin Students and Youth Union (AKSYU)
Arakan League for Democracy-Youth (Exile) (ALD-youth/Exile)
National League for Democracy -Liberated Area /youth (NLD/LA-Youth)
Naga Youth Organization (NYO)
Kuki Students Democratic Front (KSDF)
Zomi Students and Youth Organization (ZSYO)

The New Zealand Burma Support Group
United Nationalities League for Democracy (UNLD/LA)
Zomi Reunification Organization (ZRO)

Women’s League of Burma, comprising 11 groups:
          Burmese Women’s Union (BWU)
          Kachin Women’s Association- Thailand (KWAT)
          Karen Women’s Organization (KWO)
          Kuki Women Rights and Women Affair Association
          Lahu Women’s Organization (LWO)
          Pa-O Women’s Union (PWU)
          Pa-laung Women Organization (PWO)
          Rakhaing Women’s Union (RWU)
          Shan Women’s Action Network (SWAN)
          Tavoy Women’s Union (TWU)
          Women's Rights and Welfare Association of Burma (WRWAB)

For further information please contact: 

Hseng Noung        + 66 1 88 44 963

Thin Thin Aung     + 91 989 125 2316

Women’s League of Burma
[email protected]