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OpEdNews Op Eds    H3'ed 8/28/08

Suu Kyi's message to the world: UN is on the wrong track

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Message Zaw Nay Aung
The UN envoy Ibrahim Gambari left Burma without seeing the pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi and the regime's high profiles. Suu Kyi did not turn up for the scheduled meeting with Mr. Gambari and there have been claims that she did not accept the junta's food provisions. Suu Kyi's behaviour was criticised by Japan while Thailand Prime Minister tried to marginalise Suu in Burma's politics. However, the world never had a chance to know the progress of the dialogue between the regime and Suu brokered by the UN until the fourth meeting.

A remark from the Japanese diplomat that Suu Kyi's behaviour is 'ill-tempered and uncompromising' was quite negative and ignores that the majority of the people are pro-democracy. As no one has a slight chance of opportunity to voice for their sufferings under military rule and Suu Kyi never had a chance to let the world know that whether UN is on the right track. Her absence at the meeting is simply the 'silent message' to the world that UN's effort in resolving Burma's political stalemate is complete failure.

Yet, the UN tried to save its work that the last visit of Mr. Gambari could not be judged as an event which is a process. While senior members of 1990 election winning party NLD led by Suu was allowed to talk to Gambari for 20 minutes, the envoy also had to talk to other several pro-junta's individuals and groups such as Union Solidarity and Development Association (USDA). The envoy had no idea of 1990 election result when he was asked and rather hoping for the free and fair election of 2010.

Although the US and other western countries imposed punitive measures against the regime for not honouring the 1990 election result, the UN did not take responsible and serious steps to put pressure on the regime. The junta disgracefully controlled the power on the ground of drafting new constitution and NLD ended boycotting the National Convention for only to listen whatever the regime was saying. Then, who should be blamed? Although the envoy offered UN supervision or independent monitoring for the referendum held in May, the junta did not accept the offer as it is an offer not a binding resolution.

The junta only looks for the business deals and something which could make profits for them from the international community and institutions. The UN must take serious measures and make the regime to listen to the world body rather than being played by the regime. In Burma's conflict, the regional countries have been pleased with bargains in their counterpart's market, free from western competition and they would love to go on with the junta rather than deal with a democratic government.

It is time for neighbouring countries not to follow the economic interest and stop playing along with Burmese junta. Without a genuine dialogue between the regime and Aung San Suu Kyi who represents the people of Burma, Burma will never reach a peaceful solution. It does not make sense at all to leaving an opposition leader outside the roundtable to resolve the political impasse in a country.

The UN should acknowledge the whole process of what the regime has been doing from drafting constitution and holding a rigged referendum to entrench the military until after the 2010 election. The 1990 election result could not be wiped off from the history along with the junta's brutality and bloodshed over the decades. Without releasing political prisoners including Suu Kyi, holding talks will simply extend the time of military rule rather than lead to a solution.

The UN must review its mission and make clear that the regime could not go for 2010 election without honouring 1990 election result. The whole process of regime's roadmap to democracy has completely ignored the people's desire and people's representatives who won a majority of the seats in 1990. The UN should realize that its mission is on the wrong track and deluded by the junta.


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Zaw Nay Aung is director of London-based human rights advocacy and think tank, Burma Independence Advocates.
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