The Tokyo Declaration of the ASEAN-Japan Commemorative Summit should lay down an ASEAN-Japan roadmap for the return of Burma to democracy to stop the Myanmar military junta continuing to deceive ASEAN, Japan and international community with an alleged “roadmap to democracy” which is actually a “roadmap to kill democracy”
by Lim Kit Siang
(Petaling Jaya, Wednesday): The Myanmar military junta has taken ASEAN, Japan and the international community for a ride for the past six months, claiming that it has a “roadmap” for democracy, while continuing in keep the Burmese Opposition Leader and Nobel Peace Laureate Aung San Suu Kyi in incarceration and refusing to take any meaningful steps towards democratization and national reconciliation in the country.
It has been reported that the Tokyo Declaration which will be the culmination of the two-day ASEAN-Japan 30th Commemorative Summit beginning tomorrow will include reference to the protection and promotion of basic human rights based on the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
The Tokyo Declaration should lay down an ASEAN-Tokyo roadmap for the return of Burma to democracy to stop the Myanmese military junta continuing to deceive ASEAN, Japan and the international community with an alleged “roadmap to democracy”, which is actually a “roadmap to kill democracy”.
It is both shocking and outrageous that ASEAN, Japanese and international leaders could be such easy prey to the machinations and the international politics and diplomacy of hypocrisy and equivocation as to close their eyes to the continued repression, brutality and massive human rights violations of the Myamese military rule, starting with the ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ Meeting in Pnomh Penh in June all the way to the ASEAN Summit in Bali in October, and now the ASEAN-Tokyo Summit.
At least, the Commonwealth has established its relevance as an organization founded on the principles of the Harare Declaration on democracy, the rule of law and good governance when the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in Abuja, Nigeria reached the highly controversial and divisive decision to continue the suspension of Zimbabwe because the dictatorship of Robert Mugabe had laid to waste the Zimbabwe political, economic, legal and human rights systems and subjecting the Zimbabwean people to unprecedented misery and suffering.
The ASEAN-Japan relationship should not be a completely unprincipled one bereft of the values of democracy, human rights and good governance.
The two-day ASEAN-Japan Commemorative Summit will be a major flop and a great letdown to the people of Burma and regional and international opinion if the ASEAN and Japanese leaders continue to be silent on Burma, gullible and can still buy the Myanmese “roadmap to democracy” which has not demonstrated any element of democracy and human rights in the past few months.
At minimum, the Tokyo Declaration must spell out an ASEAN-Japan roadmap for the return of Burma to democracy, which should set the Myanmese military junta a time span to implement the following measures:
(1) Release Aung San Suu Kyi and other political prisoners.
(2) Hold a substantive political dialogue with the National League for Democracy (NLD) led by Aung San Suu Kyi and representatives of non-Burman ethnic nationalities.
(3) Allow basic political freedoms, which include reopening of the NLD party offices and resumption of political activities.
(4) Cooperate with the United Nations Special Envoy and UN Special Rapporteur to assess the situation after the 30 May Tabayin Massacre so that the country can be guided towards a transition to a civilian rule.
* Lim Kit Siang, DAP National Chairman