ASEAN governments should convey their concern to SLORC leaders at the deteriorating human rights situation in Burma after admission into ASEAN

Media Statement
by Lim Kit Siang
(Petaling Jaya, Monday):
After defying regional and international opinion opposing the admission of Burma into ASEAN until there is tangible success or progress in the ASEAN "constructive engagement" policy to foster democratisation and national reconciliation, ASEAN governments and leaders have a moral, regional and international responsibility to ensure that the Burmese military junta does not embark on new repressive measures against the people of Burma.

This is why ASEAN governments should act firmly to convey their concerns and displeasure to SLORC leaders at the deteriorating human rights situation in Burma after the country’s admission into ASEAN.

The recent jailing of four Opposition figures in Burma, three of whom are relatives of Burmese Nobel Peace Prize laureate Aung San Suu Kyi, to 10 years jail each for breaching the country’s Unlawful Associations Act after closed trials is completely unacceptable and ASEAN leaders must make clear their disapproval that this is also an unacceptable norm and conduct under the "Asian Values" interpretation of human rights and democracy.

ASEAN nations should also express support to Japanese Government efforts demanding that SLORC establish political dialogue with Aung San Suu kyi and the National League for Democracy to pave the way for the return of constitutional government in Burma.

Now that ASEAN has admitted Burma into the regional organisation, ASEAN leaders must make SLORC leaders understand that they expect distinct improvements in democratisation and national reconciliation by the time of the ASEAN Leaders Summit in Malaysia at the end of the year – so that ASEAN can show the world that the admission of Burma has not led to the deterioration of the situation of democracy and human rights in the country but the reverse.


*Lim Kit Siang - Malaysian Parliamentary Opposition Leader, Democratic Action Party Secretary-General & Member of Parliament for Tanjong