Call to eject Burmese military from UN


By Debbie Stothard

Supporters of democracy in Burma from throughout the world are calling on their governments to eject the illegitimate rulers of Burma from the seat they hold in the United Nations General Assembly.

The call marks the second anniversary of Burma's "ignored" general elections on May 27. Nobel Peace Prize Laureate and leader of the National League for Democracy (NLD), Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, remains under house arrest after nearly three years.

Refusing to honour the 1990 landslide electoral victory of the NLD, the military regime — the State Law and Order Restoration Council — has systematically silenced the people's representatives. Eighty members of parliament were detained, four of whom have died in custody. Only 10 of the 93 political parties that contested the election have survived the harassment.

"SLORC has prevented the elected government from carrying out its mandate. The regime has also shown no respect for international borders. In the past year its military has violated the sovereignty of Thai and Bangladeshi territory", said Dr Sein Win, prime minister of the National Coalition Government of the Union of Burma (the NCGUB is composed of elected NLD MPs who fled the 1990 military crackdown to join ethnic nationalities along Burma's borders. The NCGUB has been recognised by Norway as the legitimate government of Burma).

Dr Sein Win added that "There is a strong case for the SLORC to be ejected from [its United Nations General Assembly] seat. It has no right to represent the 43 million people of Burma. The international community is increasingly recognising that it is inappropriate to have any association with a regime whose human rights record is condemned as the world's worst."

He dismissed the regime's recent initiatives such as releasing 102 political prisoners and allowing Suu Kyi to meet her husband as "weak attempts" to manipulate the media.

"SLORC is feeling the heat and hopes that the world will think it is changing. International pressure is beginning to work. We can't afford to ease up until genuine change takes place", Dr Sein Win said.

Australian supporters of the Burmese democracy movement have called on the Australian government to sponsor a resolution in the United Nations General Assembly declaring Burma's seat vacant. A demonstration was held in Sydney's Martin Place on May 25 to back this call. The protesters unveiled a 50-metre banner made of many smaller banners from activists around the country. The banner was again displayed in Canberra on May 27 and a petition presented to the prime minister.