Wednesday, March 4, 2009

7-7-2008 Press Conference

Press Conference on Burma
Venue: Press Club of India
Time: 1:30 pm
Date: 7-7-2008
Introduction by: Dr. Tint Swe, Burmese MP (NLD)

Ladies and Gentlemen:
Today is anniversary of 7-July Day of Burma. Exactly 46 years ago, in Rangoon the life of the first student was lost due to brutal and discriminate shooting by the predecessor of military regime of Burma today. Brutalities continue prevail and the world can’t help it.

Burma is going through a great trial today. As you all know, about two months ago, a powerful cyclone swept lower Burma leaving almost 133,000 people dead or missing, affecting an estimated 2.5 million people and causing untold damage to the vital rice producing and fisheries zones in the country. If rice cannot be replanted this month in those farms, food shortages and economic problems are eminent.

Burma today is in desperate need of not only international aid but also good and effective governance to recover. But we unfortunately do not have one now. The Burmese generals did nothing serious to help the cyclone victims; instead, their energy and attention were on the holding of a sham referendum that would legitimize military rule. More people probably could have been saved with had the Burmese generals cared to. Actually man-made disaster followed after natural catastrophe.

Daw Aung San Suu Kyi's house arrest was unlawfully extended again one more year just before her 63rd birthday even though the law does not allow detention for more than five years. We need her release more than ever.

Ladies and Gentlemen:
What I am trying to convey here is that politically speaking, the Burmese generals are as ruthless and uncompromising as ever. Recently, there was a major reshuffle in the military with many top generals being dismissed. But it is not for a change for good. It is believed that the commanders are being prepared for the elections that the junta has scheduled for 2010.

Before the May referendum, the Ministry of Defense issued a "Special Order" to all military commanders that the referendum and the elections were a "Great Battle" that must be won at all cost. Military commanders were given a free hand to resort to "all available means" to "eliminate" elements opposed to the referendum.

The NLD and ethnic political parties have dismissed the referendum results because of the rampant dirty tricks, coercion, intimidation, harassment and you name it by authorities against the people during the process. We urge you not to endorse the referendum result and the upcoming election.


Ladies and Gentlemen:
In such a small country Burma where 3,000 political prisoners including 18 elected Members of Parliament imprisoned there is no legal means that political parties can pursue to see justice done. Our repeated call for dialogue brought only the appointment of a liaison minister. It is just bogus. Therefore as dialogue strategy failed “regime change” is the call for Burma today. We also want UN special envoy Mr. Gambari’s visit result oriented rather than business as usual.

The troubling aspect of the political situation in Burma is that it is the people in charge of the country who are committing the crimes against the people. We welcome the European Parliament for calling for a case against Burma’s generals to be referred to the International Criminal Court (ICC), on charges of crimes against humanity. We welcome the unanimous adoption of UN Security Council resolution 1820 on sexual violence in conflict. We call on UNSC to consider referring Burmese generals in power to the (ICC) for crimes against humanity. So you urge all 15 member nations to do so.

Given the extreme reluctance of the Burmese regime to extend its full cooperation to world nations, international agencies, and INGOs in the relief and rehabilitation efforts after the cyclone, governments and international agencies should act collectively to help the people of Burma under "Responsibility to Protect" Doctrine, R2P.

We become to understand Realpolitik of Burma’s neighbors. But Machiavellian Realpolitik or practice of depiction of foreign policy is not the case every time. Business interest and reputation of a country will be better to work with a democracy. So I sincerely and realistically seek the support of India, China and other countries. Democratic Burma will truly serve your interest.

Thank you very much!

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