Whether UN Security Council’s strong criticism enough for Military Regime in Burma?

On 11th of October 2007 afternoon, United Nations Security Council after its six minute brief 5757th meeting (which was started at 1.35 PM and adjourned at 1.41 PM) strongly deplored the use of violence against peaceful demonstrators in Burma and called for an early release of all political prisoners including Daw Aung San Suu Kyi. The brief high level meeting of world’s powerful institution also stressed the need to create the necessary condition in Burma, for a “genuine” dialogue with all the concerned parties and ethnic groups. It also welcomed Burma’s ruling military regime – the SPDC’S (State Peace and Development Council) public commitment to work with the United Nations and the appointment of a liaison officer with Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, and stressed the importance of follow-up by action.[I]

 

The meeting was significant as later in the statement read by Security Council’s present President of the month of October – Leslie Kojo Christian of Ghana; while welcoming Human Rights Council (HRC) resolution S-5/1 of 2 October 2007, made an urgent appeal to the Burma’s military regime to take all necessary measures to address the political, economic, humanitarian, and human rights issues that are the concern of its people and emphasized that the future of Burma lies in the hands of all of its people. It is important to note here, that in its 2nd of October 2007 fifth special meeting, Human Rights Council’s in its special session by consensus strongly deplored the continued violent repression of peaceful demonstrations in Burma, calling on the authorities to release without delay all those recently arrested as well as all political detainees, including democracy leader Daw Aung San Suu Kyi. The fifth special meeting of HRC was held considering the request made by the Permanent mission of Slovenia on behalf of the eighteen member states of the Human Rights Council and thirty-seven Observer States to convene a special session of the council on the deteriorating human rights situation in Burma. Moreover in this meeting, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Louise Arbour called on the military government to give a full account of those killed, injured and arrested in the anti-Government protests, apart from telling the Burmese military authority that, “they should no longer expect that their self-imposed isolation will shield them from accountability.”[II]

Forthcoming trip of Mr. Gambari to the region:

Besides strong condemnation of the brutal suppression of peace warriors in orange robe by the Burmese military regime. In the eventful day of 11th October, UN Secretary General (UNSG), Mr. Ban Ki-moon also announced to send his Special Adviser – Mr. Ibrahim Gambari on Burma back to the region in forthcoming weeks to meet with the leaders of Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, India, China and Japan to facilitate genuine national reconciliation between the ruling military regime and NLD leader and Nobel Peace laureate Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, which he would start from coming Monday by visiting Thailand first; followed by the consultation trip to the other key players of the region. Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, Japan and India have already voiced their concern for the freedom of Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and support for the national reconciliation process in Burma. So Mr. Gambari would not face any problem in convincing these nation states towards the consensus resolution of HRC adopted on 2nd of October 2007 and UNSC text of 5757th meeting but the problem lies with convincing China towards the spirit of HRC/UNSC presidential statements.

Although China which enjoys membership of HRC till 2009 also supported the HRC resolution of 2nd October and Presidential text of 11th October of UNSC, but on 12th October 2007, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Liu Jianchao again reiterated its old position by saying, “Myanmar issue should be resolved by Myanmar itself,”[III] going against the spirit of recent HRC and UNSC resolutions. However, the same press briefing of Liu Jianchao has some positive indication when Jianchao explicitly said that, “China is ready to continue to actively promote the proper settlement of the Myanmar issue together with the international community.”[IV] Although, how China will respond to the visit of Mr. Gambari in forthcoming weeks has to be seen? But before going to its old position of providing legitimacy to the military regime, China probably wouldn’t forget that she was chosen to host 2008 Olympic Games after having a stiff competition from other nations, and negating the truth of Burma would unfortunately hamper world’s participation in the great sporting event.

 

Burmese people should feel proud of her neighbors like – Thailand, Singapore, Cambodia, Philippines, Vietnam’s and off course other countries like – Netherlands, Switzerland, Portugal, Australia, Greece, Norway, Morocco, Sweden, Iceland, Luxemburg, Denmark, Ireland, Liechtenstein, Czech Republic, Chile, Slovakia, Latvia, Colombia, Poland, Spain, Belgium, Estonia, Argentina, European Union, USA and institutions like – Asian Forum for Human Rights and Development, International Federation of Human Rights Leagues, Amnesty International, Asian Legal Resource Centre, Human Rights Watch, International Commission of Jurists, Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom, United Nations Watch, Worldview International Foundation together with international NGO Forum on Indonesian Development; People’s Solidarity for Participatory Democracy; Pax Romana; Peace Boat; Lawyers for a Democratic Society; International Movement against all Forms of Discrimination and Racism; Asian Indigenous and Tribal Peoples Network; Ain O Salish Kendro (Ask) Law and Mediation Centre; Asia Pacific Forum on Women, Law and Development; Earthrights International; International Women’s Rights Action Watch; Asian Partnership for the Development of Human Resources in Rural Asia; and Tebtebba Foundation (Indigenous Peoples’ International Centre for Policy Research and Education) for their equivocal support towards genuine national reconciliation and freedom of Daw Suu Kyi in the 2nd of October HRC special meeting.[V] Earlier United Kingdom and many other nations support for the genuine national reconciliation in Burma was historic, including massive support of the Indian people for the freedom of Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and other political prisoners of Burma.

 

Although, India joined the overwhelming HRC consensus but the statement of Indian representative – Swashpawan Singh was not with the spirit of Indian National Congress Party leader – Mrs. Sonia Gandhi’s speech delivered in the same day at General Assembly on UN International Day of Non-violence and Gandhi’s birth anniversary. Mr. Swashpawan Singh unfortunately said, that, “in an explanation of the vote after the vote, India had always advocated an outcome that was forward-looking, non-condemnatory, and sought to involve the authorities in Myanmar in a peaceful outcome, and regretted that the text adopted was not in line with that approach. It did not engage constructively with the authorities in Myanmar. However, India had joined the consensus, in the hope that the further activities of the Council in this matter would be more constructive.”[VI] It is most unfortunate that, Mr. Swashpawan Singh and officially India thinks at HRC fifth special session about the regime in terms of ‘non-condemnatory’ perception, even after the emerging world consensus on the issue and witnessing of brutal suppression of innocent monks protest in last August-September and official position of all most all major political parties like – Indian National Congress Party, BJP, CPI, CPM, Forward Block, Samajwadi Party etc. for the freedom of Daw Suu Kyi and restoration of democracy in Burma.

 

Hope in future during the forthcoming visit of Mr. Gambari to India, India would once again follow its great democratic traditions and the earlier commitments made by the all political parties including Congress leader – Mrs. Sonia Gandhi’s many statement for the freedom of Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and other political prisoners of Burma, to truly establish the identity of great Indian nation for which more than one hundred forty nations celebrated United Nations International Day of Non-violence on 2nd of October 2007 commemorating Mahatma Gandhi’s birth anniversary.

Does Security Council’s Strong Criticism enough for freedom in Burma:

Now the important question comes, that, whether Security Council’s (SC) 11th of October initiative towards genuine national reconciliation and strong condemnation of the military regime in words is enough for the freedom of Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and other political prisoners of Burma? However, no doubt; the high office of UN Secretary General and Secretary General – Mr. Ban Ki-moon and earlier Mr. Kofi Annan had made many serious efforts to convince the military junta to come to the negotiating table but junta only pursued the delaying tactics to prolong the detention of Daw Suu Kyi, who had already spent twelve years in house arrest distanced from her family, friends and most importantly party workers?

It is important as even after the Press Release of 11th of October 2007 of the Security Council President’s texts and the Secretary General’s statement, the official Burmese military media – ‘The New Light of Myanmar’ continued on 12th October 2007 with its propaganda message in support of recently concluded National Convention, which has been designed to bring unelected element of Burmese military commanders into the parliament in the name of national stability, without the participation of Burma’s largest opposition group – NLD (National League for Democracy)? Furthermore it also continued with its propaganda in the name of “People’s Desire” of spitting against international media like – RFA (Radio Free Asia), VOA (Voice of America), BBC (British Broadcasting Corporation) and DVB (Democratic Voice of Burma). The military’s official media’s buzz line –“Neo-colonialists and their lackeys are still committing destructive acts through various ways and means to break up the peaceful and stable country”, continued in the New Light of Myanmar in 12th of October (page-10). The ruling junta intentionally negates the historical facts witnessed by world media with proofs of photograph of dying Japanese journalist, bleeding monks and spontaneous outburst of people of Burma for the freedom of Suu Kyi and other political prisoners towards national dialogue.

The official Announcement No. 1/2007 of SPDC on 5th of October 2007 of the New Light of Myanmar, that, if Daw Aung San Suu Kyi gives up confrontation, her earlier words of utter devastation, call of economic sanctions then Senior General Than Shwe will personally meet her was intended to present the distorted view and half picture of Daw Suu Kyi’s thought about utter devastations, sanctions etc. and it has been played again and again in official media to defame her inside the country to remain in power without people’s mandate. It also didn’t considered respect of earlier calls made by UN Secretary General’s office and Human Rights Council etc. to initiate dialogue without any pre-conditions. Moreover, in this concerned announcement, SPDC officially pronounced that Mr. Gambari arrived in Burma due to the lopsided broadcasts and said that, “Due to lopsided broadcasts by some international media, some member nations of the United Nations Organization were worried about Myanmar’s situation and the UN Secretary-General sent his Special Envoy Mr Ibrahim Agboola Gambari to Myanmar to make urgent investigation and submit a report,” as world’s most important institution and UN Secretary General’s office could be also fooled by lopsided broadcasts? It is greatness of SPDC that they didn’t come up with the announcement that, photographs of bleeding monks, students and people had been also prepared in the photographic labs of USA, UK and ‘labs of Western cohorts, Neo-colonialists and their lackeys’.

However, the announcement no. 2/2007 of 8th of October 2007 by the SPDC government to appoint the Deputy Minister for Labour, Mr. U Aung Kyi as Minister for Relations and liaison officer between the government and Daw Aung San Suu Kyi as per the recommendations of the United Nations Secretary-General’s Special Envoy Mr Ibrahim A Gambari during his visit to Myanmar from 29th September to 2nd October 2007,[VII] is a well come step and shows positive attitude of SPDC regime. But their consistent approach of abusing monks and people’s protests in their official media and organizing state sponsored rallies in support of recently concluded National Convention shows their real intention towards the HRC and UNSC’s resolution, negating spontaneous outburst of simmering discontent for genuine democratic transformation in Burma.

The Burmese official media has rich experience of presenting half truth before the world. On 12th of October 2007, the New Light of Myanmar published a news story about former US President Jimmy Carter’s statement criticizing Bush Administration for Iraq war and torturing prisoners at page no. 3, taken from Chinese Xinhua News entitled, “Carter Says Bush Administration “does torture” prisoners.”[VIII] But they didn’t publish the other statements of former US President Jimmy Carter, in which he says about Burmese military junta that, “They promised me that she (Daw Aung San Suu Kyi) would just be put in house arrest, and that if she would cooperate they would release her, but all proved to be idle promises,” further, Mr. Carter says, “Burma’s neighbors with economic ties to the country need to do more to secure Aung San Suu Kyi’s release, and to pave the way for democratic change.”[IX]

SPDC leadership has been missing since long the historical chance of sharing dais with Daw Aung San Suu Kyi. The undermining of recent mass protests of monks and people of Burma is going beyond truth of massive support, which Daw Suu enjoys in Burma and now all across the world. Rather then utilizing Daw Suu Kyi’s international stature for Burma’s development, keeping her behind curtain, itself proves SPDC leadership’s dumbness towards the reality of international relations. Which was rightly pointed out recently by Singapore’s great leader Lee Kuan Yew that, “They are rather dumb generals, how they can so mismanage the economy and reach this stage when the country has so many natural resources?”[X]

So, UNSC should remain prepared for the concrete action on Burma in future beyond strong criticism, to maintain its prestige as world’s important institution and to protect the name of the United Nations as an effective institution to implement the human rights ethos of UN Charter.


ENDNOTES:

 

 

[I] Security Council Deplores Violence Used Against Myanmar Demonstrators, Stresses Importance of Early Release For All Political Prisoners, UN Security Council Document No. SC/9139, Security Council 5757th Meeting, United Nations, Department of Public Information, News and Media Division, New York, USA, 11th October 2007.

 

[II] UN Human Rights Council calls on Myanmar to release detainees, political prisoners, UN News Centre, UN News Service, New York, United Nations, 3rd of October 2007.

 

[III] Lin Li, China says Myanmar issue should be resolved by Myanmar itself, China View, Xinhuanet News, Beijing, 12 October 2007, 4.16 PM News, from the web site: news.xinhuanet.com/English/200710/12/content_6870772.html Accessed on 12 October 2007.

[IV] Ibid.

 

[V] Human Rights Council Strongly Deplores Continued Violent Repression of Peaceful Demonstrations In Myanmar, United Nations Press Release, Human Rights Council, Resolution No. – A/HRC/S-5/L.1/Rev.1, Afternoon, 2 October 2007.

 

[VI]Ibid.

 

[VII]Government issues Announcement No 2/2007, The New Light of Myanmar, 9 October 2007, Volume XV, Number 176, page-1.

 

[VIII] Carter says Bush administration “does torture” prisoners, The New Light of Myanmar, 12 October 2007, Volume XV, Number 179, page-3.

 

[IX] Jimmy Carter Calls for More International Pressure on Burma, VOA News, New York, 10 October 2007.

 

[X] Lee Kuan Yew – Burma Generals rather dumb, The Bangkok Post, Bangkok, 9th of October 2007, from the web site: bangkokpost.com/breaking_news/breakingnews.php?id=122489.

 

 

 

 

(The End)

 

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3 Comments on “Whether UN Security Council’s strong criticism enough for Military Regime in Burma?”

  1. slivermoon Says:

    I hate to break it you, but the world, at the top, has changed. Evil walked in while we slept and took over the place. If you think for one minute that they really want peace in Myanmar, you’re dreaming. They don’t. They likely sit by and snicker at the suffering and death of the world’s most peaceful and WISE people. That is why they are killing them. They do represent a threat. They show people the truth, the light and the way. Someone else taught that and looked what happened to him?

    They only pretend they love Jesus, to get really naive people on their side.
    They hate Jesus and everything he stands for.

    You won’t see change in Myanmar- or anywhere else where there be teachers of the truth.

  2. Rajshekhar Says:

    Dear Silvermoon,
    I respect your thoughts but we should not loose hope. At least for those people who suffered lot since so many years and still has courage to face guns through peaceful non-violent means against heavy odds.

    Rajshekhar
    Burma Review


  3. That was such an excellent paper. While I must agree with Silvermoon, I have an idea…

    I’m trying to get Al Gore and Jimmy Carter to gather together all the other Nobel Laureates Now and go to Burma en mass to meet with fellow imprisoned Nobel Peace Prize winner Daw Aung San Suu Kyi.
    They should remain in Burma as physical witnesses until she is released and Democracy is restored.
    Can you spread this idea around please?
    They should have gone to Burma Yesterday but better late than never.
    What is the point of having a Nobel Peace Prize if any Laureate can be imprisoned by any junta any where for any length of time as evidenced in Burma with Daw Aung San Suu Kyi?


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