Friday, May 06, 2011

Human rights group says Myanmar chairing ASEAN would turn the grouping into a 'laughingstock'

May 06, 2011
Niniek Karmini
The Associated Press

JAKARTA, Indonesia - Southeast Asian nations should reject Myanmar's request to chair their regional grouping in 2014 unless the government releases political prisoners and takes other concrete steps to improve human rights, a U.S.-based rights group said Friday.

Leaders of the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations, or ASEAN, will gather in the Indonesian capital over the weekend to discuss regional security, economic developments and strategies to boost transportation links in the region.

Among those attending will be Myanmar's president, Thein Sein, who heads the military-backed party that overwhelmingly won general elections late last year.

After arriving in Jakarta on Thursday, Thein Sein asked Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, ASEAN's current chair, to back Myanmar's bid to take over the position in 2014.

Yudhoyono agreed to raise the issue at the leaders' summit, and some countries have already indicated they would not oppose.

"Rewarding Burma with ASEAN's chairmanship after it staged sham elections and still holds 2,000 political prisoners would be an embarrassment for the region," Elaine Pearson, deputy Asia director at New York-based Human Rights Watch, said in a statement. Myanmar was formerly known as Burma.

Pearson said such a decision would turn ASEAN into a "laughingstock."

The regional grouping is supposed to rotate its chair between member countries — Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam — every year.

Myanmar was forced to skip its turn in 2005, however, after coming under heavy pressure from the international community over slow progress on national reconciliation and human rights.

Human Rights Watch said Friday that — despite Myanmar's recent release of democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi — much more needs to be done.

In addition to the release of political prisoners, member states should set clear benchmarks for Myanmar to earn the right to be chair, including dialogue with all political and ethnic parties, the group said.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Koh Tral Island must not be forgotten

By Ms. Rattana Keo

Why do Koh Tral Island, known in Vietnam as Phu Quoc, a sea and land area covering proximately over 30,000 km2 [Note: the actual land size of Koh Tral itself is 574 square kilometres (222 sq miles)] have been lost to Vietnam by whose treaty? Why don’t Cambodia government be transparent and explain to Cambodia army at front line and the whole nation about this? Why don't they include this into education system? Why?

Cambodian armies are fighting at front line for 4.6 km2 on the Thai border and what's about over 30,000km2 of Cambodia to Vietnam. Nobody dare to talk about it! Why? Cambodian armies you are decide the fate of your nation, Cambodian army as well as Cambodian people must rethink about this again and again. Is it fair?

Koh Tral Island, the sea and land area of over 30,000 square kilometres have been lost to Vietnam by the 1979 to 1985 treaties. The Cambodian army at front line as well as all Cambodian people must rethink again about these issues. Are Cambodian army fighting to protect the Cambodia Nation or protecting a very small group that own big lands, big properties or only protecting a small group but disguising as protecting the Khmer nation?

The Cambodian army at front lines suffer under rain, wind, bullets, bombs, lack of foods, lack of nutrition and their families have no health care assistance, no securities after they died but a very small group eat well, sleep well, sleep in first class hotel with air conditioning system with message from young girls, have first class medical care from oversea medical treatments, they are billionaires, millionaires who sell out the country to be rich and make the Cambodian people suffer every day.

Who signed the treaty 1979-1985 that resulted in the loss over 30,000 km2 of Cambodia??? Why they are not being transparent and brave enough to inform all Cambodians and Cambodian army at front line about these issues? Why don't they include Koh Tral (Koh Tral size is bigger than the whole Phom Phen and bigger than Singapore [Note: Singapore's present land size is 704 km2 (271.8 sq mi)]) with heap of great natural resources, in the Cambodian education system?

Look at Hun Sen's families, relatives and friends- they are billionaires, millionaires. Where did they get the money from when we all just got out of war with empty hands [in 1979]? Hun Sen always say in his speeches that Cambodia had just risen up from the ashes of war, just got up from Year Zero with empty hands and how come they are billionaires, millionaires but 90% of innocent Cambodian people are so poor and struggling with their livelihood every day?

Koh Tral was a Cambodian island, and technically and legally, remained a Cambodian island until today.

Smart Khmer girl Ms. Rattana Keo,