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Burma sponsors an abortive election exclusive of key oppositions

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European and Asian leaders at an EU-Asia summit On 5 October (Tuesday) in Brussels joined forces to urge Burma's junta to release political prisoners and ensure that the 7 November elections were free and fair.

British Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg urged ASEM leaders meeting for the summit in Brussels to 'speak with one voice against the gross mistreatment of the Burmese people.' 'That means being unequivocal: These elections will be neither free nor fair,' Mr Clegg wrote in a column in the International Herald Tribune, adding that the election result was a 'foregone conclusion'.

The leaders of 46 nations attending the Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) encouraged the military regime to 'take the necessary measures to ensure that these elections would be free, fair and inclusive,' said the text adopted at the summit, also attended by Myanmar Foreign Minister Nyan Win.

'The timely release of those under detention would contribute to these elections to be more inclusive, participatory and transparent,' it says. Amnesty International says some 2,200 political prisoners are languishing in the country's jails.

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Subsequently, the world association of parliaments on 6 October (Wednesday) called on Burma to immediately release 12 lawmakers from jail ahead of elections next month.

In the modern history of Burma, the 1990 General Elections have been recognized as a noteworthy milestone. After 26 years of military dictatorship, the people of Burma got an opportunity to vote for a government of their choice. It was one of the free and fair elections that had taken place in the South-East Asia region at that decade.

But regrettably, the election-results were not honored by the military regime. While pronouncing it has been going for democratic reforms, the junta has been launching a major offensive upon the opposition NLD since the 1990 elections result materialized. Afterwards, by fair means or foul, the junta's has repeatedly targeted to do away with the people's mandate that was given to the NLD in the 1990 General Elections.

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Up until now, there are 12 Members of Parliament in the junta's notorious prisons. They are namely (1) Dr.Kyaw Kyaw (NLD, arrested 18- 09-2002); (2) Khun Tun Oo (SNLD, arrested 09-02- 2005); (3) Kyaw Khin (NLD, arrested 25-02-2005); (4) Kyaw Min (NDPHR, arrested 17-03-2005); (5) Kyaw San (NLD, arrested 17-03-2005); (6) Khin Maung Win (NLD, arrested 31-03-2006); (7) Than Lwin ( NLD, arrested 29-09-2007); (8) Win Myint Aung (NLD, arrested 28-04-2008); (9) Nyi Pu (NLD, arrested 12-08-2008); (10) Dr.Tin Min Htut (NLD, arrested 12-08-2008); (11) Kyaw Khaing (NLD, arrested 13-07-2009) and (12) Saw Hlaing (NLD, arrested 30-03-2005).

In a resolution, the human rights committee of the Inter Parliamentary Union (IPU) urged Burma's military junta to immediately and unconditionally end incarceration of 12 MPs.

"Twelve parliamentarians are continuing to languish in prison simply for having exercised their rights to express themselves," it said.

The committee raised "serious doubts" about the junta's desire to ensure that the historic elections were a "sincere" reflection of the will of Burma's people.

Mexican senator Rosario Green, the head of the committee, highlighted that the 12 members of parliament were among 2,100 political prisoners on the country. Green also said that twelve Burmese MPs have all been sentenced on the basis of legal proceedings which blatantly disregarded their right to a fair trial. Green said that in the past the IPU's watchdog had examined "many" other cases of parliamentarians in Burma "who at one time or another ended up in prison for speaking their minds."

"None of them can stand in the elections, because all those who have been the subject of a conviction are automatically disqualified," Ms. Rosario Green added. The IPU is an association of 155 parliaments from around the world.

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ASEAN Inter Parliamentary Myanmar Caucus (AIPMC) also repeatedly calls on the military junta to work together with ASEAN and the international community to bring about changes and democratic reforms in the country through political dialogue with the NLD and ethnic leaders.

The caucus repeatedly calls on unconditional release of all political prisoners in Burma, including Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, ethnic leaders and elected MPs.

Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) urges the military authorities of Burma to release all MPs-elect still in detention immediately and unconditionally, and to guarantee their physical integrity and respect for their right to freedom of expression, assembly and association as their duty commands.

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Zin Linn was born on February 9, 1946 in a small town in Mandalay Division. He began writing poems in 1960 and received a B.A (Philosophy) in 1976. He became an activist in the High School Union after the students' massacre on 7th July 1962. (more...)

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