Burma: Poll boycott planned, Aus trade grows

Issue 

Burma Campaign Australia said on March 30 that Burma political prisoner Aung San Suu Kyi's political party, the National League for Democracy (NLD), will not register in the forthcoming national election in Burma.

The NLD said the recently announced election laws were undemocratic.

Burma Campaign Australia (BCA) spokesperson Myint Cho said Australia needed to take a stronger position against these elections, which will further entrench the military into power.

Myint Cho said: "The 2010 elections will be the final assault on the people and their dreams of democracy, freedom and life without oppression.

"The NLD has made clear their position on the elections and we are calling on the Australian government to support their stance by publicly opposing Burma's 2010 elections until all political prisoners are released and an inclusive constitutional review is carried out prior to any election."

The elections scheduled for later this year will be Burma's first in 20 years. The BCA said under the 2008 constitution, 25% of parliamentary seats are reserved for the military. The military will also control constitutional amendments and have immunity from prosecution for crimes they have committed.

On April 7, BCA said that, despite calls from Burmese democracy activists for targeted sanctions against the regime, trade between Burma and Australia has grown significantly.

BCA spokesperson Zetty Brake said: "The Australian government has been saying they won't impose targeted trade and investment sanctions because the amount of trade is too low. But because of their inaction, trade with one of the world's most brutal military dictatorship has grown 160% in a year."

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