The continued closure of some universities in Burma on 49th Independence Day anniversary are further signs of unrest and instability of military rule and should be an added minus point against Burma’s entry into ASEAN this year
The Deputy Education Minister of the State Law and Order Restoration Council (SLORC), Than Nyunt said some of the universities that were shut in early December, several weeks before regular December holidays, as a result of student unrest and the biggest anti-government demonstrations in Rangoon since 1988, would reopen on Jan 6.
But the schools at the centre of the recent unrest would remain closed for the time being, he said. About 50,000 students across the country would be affected by the closures.
Schools were closed for nearly two years after the 1988 street protests, and students have expressed fears the recent demonstrations would end in the same result.
ASEAN nations must be concerned at the failure of the ASEAN “constructive engagement” policy to encourage SLORC to undertake political and democratic reforms and that there is “no light at the end of the tunnel” with the political situation in Burma getting from bad to worse.
The failure of ASEAN’s “constructive engagement” policy has been further highlighted by the refusal of SLORC to hold dialogue with Burma’s pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi, the National League for Democracy (NLD) and ethnic minorities. Official SLORC newspapers had fiercely denounced Aung San Suu Kyi and the NLD on the eve of the Burmese Independence Day yesterday, signifiying SLORC’s rejection of the path of national reconciliation and restoration of democratic and civilian rule.