United Nations Security Council and Freedom from Fear in Burma (Part – II)

Recently the support given by Nepal to the issue of freedom from fear in Burma, a small member nation of UN and consistent perusals by European Union as well as by US for the restoration of human rights and democracy in Burma gives a strong message to India, world’s largest democratic nation to re-think their Burma policy and shows that, soul of the United Nations charter couldn’t be sacrificed by mere profit theory of business globalization. United States strong vocal support to Daw Aung San Suu Kyi’s struggle of freedom from fear in Burma once again symbolizes – a nation’s tribute to one of its greatest leader Franklin D. Roosevelt’s Four Freedom Speech given to the US Congress on January 6, 1941. In which, F.D. Roosevelt made an historic appeal to the future generations of Americans regarding fulfilling their commitment to the democracies of the world, that, “We Americans are vitally concerned in your defense of freedom. We are putting forth our energies, our resources and our organizing powers to give you the strength to regain and maintain a free world. We shall send you, in ever increasing numbers, ships, planes, tanks, guns. This is our purpose and our pledge. In fulfillment of this purpose we will not be intimidated by the threats of dictators that they will regard as a breach of international law and as an act of war our aid to the democracies which dare to resist their aggression….” (1)

Russian and Chinese opposition on 15th of September 2006 to the Burma’s walk towards freedom in UN Security Council suggests that, probably two great nations of the world wants to forcibly deny the realization of equally great leader like Roosevelt in Russia – Mr. Mikhail Gorbachev’s more light to Glasnost, where, “Truth is the main thing, as Lenin said: More light! Let the Party know everything! As never before, we need no dark corners where mold can reappear and where everything against which we have started a resolute struggle could start accumulating. That’s why there must be more light.” (2) However, world has to see that, whether this more light of truth of freedom could arrive through Russia and China in Burma in 2007 in UN Security Council or not?

One of the strongest weaknesses of United Nations structure in contemporary world is that military dictator also founds safe refuge in its blue wings. However its charter, objectives and principles suggests democratic and humane spirit. Probably these obvious contradictions make plausible to think & work hard towards UN reform and rightly strengthens the point put forward recently by the British Conservative leader and shadow foreign secretary William Hague about UN & Burma that, “the only club in the world in which a country can frequently violate the rules with little or no penalty.” (3)
Why Qatar voted against Burma’s walk towards freedom in UN Security Council 5526th meeting (15 September 2006) could be understood from the fact that, Qatar established its diplomatic ties at ambassadorial level with Burma’s military junta in September 2005. (4) However little earlier in the same year in January 2005, Qatar’s national airlines – Qatar Airways started four weekly services between Doha and Rangoon or Yangon. Although air services agreement between the Government of Burma and State of Qatar was signed on 24th November 2004. In which Qatar promised to work as a brand ambassador of Burma in Middle Eastern Countries. (5) Both countries also witnessed close cooperation with each other in Arabian Travel Mart held in Dubai from 1st of May 2005 to 3rd of May 2005. And for the first time Myanmar/Burma Marketing Committee under the Myanmar/Burma Tourism Board participated in any Middle Eastern Show together with Burma’s National Flag Carrier, Myanmar Airways International, Uniteam Tours and Travel Ltd., Interconnection Travels Ltd. and Asia Global Travels and Tours Co. Ltd. (6)

Qatar also enjoys close cooperation with Burma’s military junta in other regional forums like newly established (year 2002) – Asia Cooperation Dialogue (ACD). So the high level diplomatic game had been already set by the military junta in September 2006, to have Qatar’s vote in UN Security Council 5526th meeting. Although interestingly by this act, Qatar has backtracked from its official position announced in 5th Asia Cooperation Dialogue (ACD) meeting held on 23rd May 2006. It is important to note that Qatar’s Heir Apparent Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad Al Thani declared his pledge at the official dinner for the ministerial meeting of the 5th ACD on 23rd May 2006 that, “Overall internal reforms that realize the rule of law and respect of human rights and secure popular participation in decision making alongside equality in rights and obligations,” would be the guiding principles of Asia wide cooperation. (7) However it is for Qatar, now to realize that by voting for military junta in Burma three months after their Doha pledge; how much of respect of human rights has been established in Asia wide cooperation?

Qatar’s voting against US freedom move for Burma in UN Security Council is also an important lesson for US diplomats to re-vitalize their Middle Eastern link for new directions. As US has approximately $ 90 billion dollars of investments in the Middle East and Qatar enjoys American private sector investment of three billion dollars, while the rate of US trade exchange with Qatar is around $ 800 million dollars. (8)

On 17th of December 2006, Burma’s Minister for National Planning and Economic Development, U Soe Tha and Deputy Minister for Labour, Maj-General Aung Kyi, made a surprising appearance before world media with equally surprising economic data of development. The important part of the economic development data press conference was the concluding remark of Mr. U Soe Tha that, “We are cooperating with all the UN agencies… & later points that, 14 UN agencies implementing 55 socio economic development projects and the starting point of Maj-General Aung Kyi’s word, “development of employment opportunities and Cooperation with ILO (International Labour Organization.” Military Generals also announced that, country’s industry sector has achieved average an annual growth rate of 11.6 percent in first short term plan, 11.4 percent in second short term plan and it increased sharply to 23.5 percent during the third short term plan together with agriculture sector received an average annual growth rate of 6.4 percent, 7.3 percent and 9.3 percent during the first, second and third short term plans respectively. And more interestingly the goal number one of the regime is to eradicate poverty and hunger. (9)

But one simple question, the world would like to know from the junta that, after such a wonderful growth, which anyone like to happen in Burma, Why this surprising growth is not percolating down to the people? And why ADB’s (Asian Development Bank) economic data has different story to tell about military rule in Burma? Or does this press conference have other objectives to show to the world about economic miracle; expecting impending UN Security Council resolution on Burma in 2007? So it is high time for the United Nations and UN Security Council to cross-check their own data bank that, how many times office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, General Assembly, since United Nations 48th session has ( Since UN Commission on Human Rights resolution 1992/58 of year 1992) passed resolutions (10) against military junta in Burma?
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Endnotes:

1. Franklin D. Roosevelt’s “Four Freedoms” Speech, January 6, 1941, Living Documents of American History compiled by Dr. Henry Steele Commager (Published by the United States Information Service, USA) 1956, p.70.

2. Mikhail Gorbachev, Perestroika: New Thinking for Our Country and the World, Harper & Row Publishers, New York, 1987, p. 75.

3. Tories Demand Human Rights Focus, BBC News, 12 December 2006.

4. Myanmar Establishes Diplomatic Ties with Qatar, People’s Daily Online, China, 30 September 2005.

5. Myanmar-Qatar Air Services Agreement Inked, Yangon, 24 November 2004, From Myanmar’s Permanent mission in Geneva website.

7. Unofficial Translation of the Speech of His Highness Qatar’s Heir Apparent Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad Al Thani at the official dinner for the ministerial meeting of the 5th ACD, Doha, on 23rd May 2006.

8. US Investment in the Middle East at Approximately $ 90 Billion, Al-Hayat, 2 April 2005.

9. Myanmar and UN Agencies Jointly Implementing Programs, The New Light of Myanmar, Yangon, 18 December 2006, pp.6-10.

10. Situation of Human Rights in Myanmar, Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, UN, Symbol: E/CN.4/RES/1992/58, dated: 03/03/1992.
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3 Comments on “United Nations Security Council and Freedom from Fear in Burma (Part – II)”

  1. Aung Kyaw Says:

    The UN is probably the only outlet to bring democratic reform in Burma, if economic and strategic special interests of countries like China are put aside. ASEAN has long been ineffectual in passively persuading the military regime to change its ways. The Burmese regime has thrived too long under the shadow of China.

    I never knew that Qatar had its own special interests in voting against the UN resolution. Hopefully, the new non-permanent UN Security Council members will be more supportive of change in Burma.

  2. gary Says:

    The reason that the UN is unable to promote democracy is that it is an undemocratic institution. It needs to be reformed to only include democratic nations. Like this…

    http://www.UnitedDemocraticNations.org

    gary

  3. Espagne Says:

    Il faut changer le Conseil de Securité et pas avoir de membres permanents avec une position notamment privilegée. La deuxième Guerre Mondiale reste déjà loin, hereusement, il faut croir dans le principe d´égalité soveraign des États.

    Il faut réformer l´ONU vite pour avoir une planète plus juste.

    Espagne


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