ASEAN must condemn ASSK’s 18-month house arrest as an unacceptable violation of ASEAN Charter on human rights

ASEAN and individual ASEAN governments must make clear their condemnation of another 18-month house arrest of Burmese democracy icon Aung San Suu Kyi by the Myanmese military junta as an unacceptable violation of ASEAN Charter on Human Rights.

ASEAN Foreign Ministers at their meeting in Phuket last month had endorsed the Terms of Reference (TOR) of the ASEAN Commission on Human Rights, which is to be launched at the ASEAN Summit in October but the latest egregious violation of human rights by the Myanmar military junta raises the question whether such an ASEAN Human Rights Commission would represent a step forward in the promotion and protection of human rights or just a figleaf to give legitimacy to continuing gross human rights violations in the region.

The continued house arrest of Suu Kyi represents at least four things:

  • Firstly, the mortal fear the Myanmar military junta has for the 64-year-old Nobel Peace Laureate who had spent 14 of the past 20 years in incarceration and recognition her unsurpassed power to evoke the hopes of the people of Burma for democracy, justice and national reconciliation. This is the reason for the term of 18 months of additional house arrest, barring her from campaigning in next year’s national elections although the Myanmar military junta had already in a sham referendum written a new constitution to exclude her from being a candidate.

  • Secondly, utter contempt of the Myanmar military junta for the human rights commitments it had made when subscribing to the ASEAN Charter.

  • Thirdly, utter contempt of the Myanmar military junta for the other ASEAN governments and nations especially in their failed “constructive engagement” for the past 12 years since Myanmar’s entry in ASEAN in 1997 to make meaningful progress in national reconciliation and democratisation in Burma.

  • Fourthly, treating the United Nations and the world community as utterly irrelevant and completely impotent in bringing international pressure to bear to influence the Myanmar military junta in the direction of national reconciliation and democratisation.

Yesterday, ASEAN expressed “deep disappointment over Suu Kyi’s additional term of house arrest for 18 months.

In his immediate response, Malaysian Foreign Minister, Datuk Anifah Aman called for an urgent meeting of ASEAN Foreign Ministers the discuss the adverse development in Myanmar calculated to exclude Suu Kyi from all role in next year’s general elections.

ASEAN should go beyond just expressing “deep disappointment” over the latest outrage committed by the Myanmar military junta against human rights and Suu Kyi.

An emergency meeting of ASEAN Foreign Ministers should not only be convened but it should pave the way for a fuller condemnation of the Myanmese military junta for the continued persecution of Suu Kyi and its refusal to accept the most elementary of human rights and democratic principles.

The time has come for ASEAN to seriously consider expulsion or at least suspension of Myanmar from ASEAN as well for the Parliaments of the other ASEAN nations to censure the Myanmar military junta for continued gross violation of human rights in the prolonged incarceration of some 2,100 political prisoners, including Suu Kyi.

  1. #1 by ekompute on Wednesday, 12 August 2009 - 3:30 pm

    “ASEAN and individual ASEAN Governments must make clear their condemnation of another 18-month house arrest of Aung San Suu Kyi by Myanmar military junta as an unacceptable violation of ASEAN Charter on Human rights”

    Banana countries practise banana laws. No point talking reasons to monkeys.

  2. #2 by carboncopy on Wednesday, 12 August 2009 - 3:48 pm

    My suspicion :

    Asean countries just like Malaysia, Singapore, etc. do not want Burma to be freed of the junta because the International community will be microscoping them next.

    At the moment, Burma is the problem. If Burma is no longer a problem. Police action on ISA march, Perak illegal unconsistitutional power grab, death in detention etc will be under scrutiny.

  3. #3 by OrangRojak on Wednesday, 12 August 2009 - 3:50 pm

    The ‘seriously consider expulsion’ suggestion is fairly unambiguous. Well done. Next topic!

  4. #4 by ekompute on Wednesday, 12 August 2009 - 4:14 pm

    Carboncopy is right. Myanmar makes Malaysia looks like an angel. But that is no consolation because we are also another banana country… just that we are slightly better. We are pisang goreng… not as crude, but still crude.

  5. #5 by collin1202 on Wednesday, 12 August 2009 - 4:47 pm

    The whole world knows the verdict is obvious, exception is how long and harsh how is the sentence. Evidently, this junta military is using guns to bully their people into submission and it is really a shame that they are part of ASEAN. They don’t care 2-hood whether they will face global trade embargo, their people are only made poorer but they are made richer thru’ their illicit trades. It’s a pity, really.

  6. #6 by ekompute on Wednesday, 12 August 2009 - 5:58 pm

    Collin1202, actually Malaysia is no different, except that UMNO does it in a slightly more presentable manner. As you know, UMNO twists and turns the law to suit its own purpose. The most classic case is of course to make ISA a “protective” act to “protect” Tan Hoon Cheng, while Ahmad Ismail is let free because according to that Botak Minister, UMNO members follow UMNO rules and have already been punished with a 3-year suspension. What that Botak means is that UMNO members do not have to follow Malaysian laws. Can DAP members follow DAP rules then? See what I mean by UMNO has to go if democracy is to be practised in Malaysia?

  7. #7 by yhsiew on Wednesday, 12 August 2009 - 7:00 pm

    The so-called ASEAN Charter is only a show – ASEAN leaders have never taken it seriously. The Myanmar military junta knew this and took advantage of ASEAN leaders’ lukewarmness in the Charter.

  8. #8 by mauriyaII on Wednesday, 12 August 2009 - 9:46 pm

    “Constructive engagement” in Barisan Nasional lexicon is nothing grand but permission to do what you want to stay on in power. Likewise we in BN will do whatever to hold on to power.

    You don’t meddle in our internal affairs however deficient in human values and trampling of human rights. Likewise we give you carte blanche to do as you wish.

    The recalcitrant Mamak Mohamad Kutty started the ball rolling because money and trade and the prospect of lording over the other countries in the neighbourhood was most tempting.

    He came up with euphemistic catch phrases to camouflage his self-serving guided democratic principles and guidelines. What this chameleon mamak proposed was to give free rein to other wannabes to subvert all institutions of governance to have a strangle hold on to power.

    He accomplished his wish list with little or no semblance of opposition during his 22 years of autocratic and totalitarian rule. After his Operasi Lalang, the opposition parties were made dysfunctional and impotent with the indiscriminate use of the ISA. All and sundry who opposed his ways were branded anti-nationals and a grave risk to the security of the nation. No one in the BN component parties dared to speak up. He had his way with not even a token opposition from BN or its component corrupt cronies.

    Military dictators were the first to see the opportunities to make undreamed of wealth and power. Burma aka Myanmar was one of the first. One can safely say the Mamak gave birth to military regimes in the region to oppress their citizens and suppress dissent with an iron fist.

    What we see in Myanmar is the legacy of Mamak’s vision. We may yet see another Myanmar in Malaysia though in a civilian form.

  9. #9 by HJ Angus on Wednesday, 12 August 2009 - 9:53 pm

    How can we criticise Myanmar when we ourselves do not follow the UN Declaration of Human Rights that is more than 50 years old?

  10. #10 by Lee HS on Wednesday, 12 August 2009 - 10:59 pm

    Burma/Myanmar is like a lot of African countries. The Military Junta in Burma wants to protect its country’s resources to themselves. They don’t care how its citizens live.

    I heard of Burma during my secondary school days a backward country. After about 40 years Burma is still a backward country.

    Look at Singapore. The difference is Singapore leaders look after the welfare of its poeple. Military Junta in Burma looks after the welfare of its cronies to make sure that Burma remains backward so that they can be in power.

    Burma denies the rights of its citizens and grossly violate human rights. If only UN were given the power to arrest these inhumane leaders in Burma, it has a long long time to catch up.

  11. #11 by Onlooker Politics on Wednesday, 12 August 2009 - 11:16 pm

    Membership expulsion from ASEAN will not likely to exert great political pressure unto Myanmar Junta Government. Only Mainland China Government will be able to do a moral suasion on the Junta in order to bring positive change to Myanmar. This is because Myanmar heavily depends on Mainland China for Myanmar’s economic survival. Mainland China seems to be the only monosopny buyer of the commodities produced in Myanmar, and Myanmar’s high economic dependency on Mainland China is indeed a consequence of economic sanction being imposed on Myanmar by the United Nations’ general resolution as a punitive approach to punish Myanmar on abrupt human rights encroachment.

    Perhaps the United States should send the Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, to go shake hand with the Myanmar Junta Chief and attempt to find out whether the Junta Chief will change his attitude towards the human rights issues. Sometimes, the Asian political leaders are very easy to tackle. Most Asian political leaders will be ready for a change if they are made to see the bright future lying ahead of them by adopting such a recommended change! The late Deng Xiao Peng of Mainland China was the typical example of such a changeable Asian political leader who would be ready to change in the name of pragmatism!

  12. #12 by ekompute on Wednesday, 12 August 2009 - 11:46 pm

    Onlooker Politics :
    Membership expulsion from ASEAN will not likely to exert great political pressure unto Myanmar Junta Government. Only Mainland China Government will be able to do a moral suasion on the Junta in order to bring positive change to Myanmar.

    Asking the devil to handle the devil? China is no better than Myanmar in terms of its human rights records!

  13. #13 by vsp on Wednesday, 12 August 2009 - 11:48 pm

    Sorry for being out of topic. This relates to the allegation of Tiong King Sing that he had ‘donated’ RM10 million to MCA president and Transport Minister Ong Tee Keat last year.

    Now, what are the AG and the MACC doing about this? When Wee Choo Keong make an unsubstantiated allegation of underworld connections against his former DAP colleagues in his blog ranting, the AG, without waiting for Wee to make a police report immediately called for an investigation, which resulted in the death of Teo Beng Hock.

    If such a miserable rat like Wee Choo Keong can moved the entire machinery of the law enforcement to act with haste, I think the allegation of a bigger fish like Tiong King Sing should be more credible and reliable?

    Malaysians are waiting with bated breath about another exposé of the never-ending stinking PKFZ scandals.

  14. #14 by ekompute on Thursday, 13 August 2009 - 12:00 am

    Onlooker Politics The late Deng Xiao Peng of Mainland China was the typical example of such a changeable Asian political leader who would be ready to change in the name of pragmatism!

    I beg to differ. Deng was always the pragmatist that he was. He was twice purged by Mao. Disenchanted with Mao’s Great Leap Forward, he, together with Liu Shaoqi, embarked on economic reforms, leading Mao to launch the Cultural Revolution in 1966, during which Deng fell out of favor and was forced to retire from all his offices. In 1974, Deng was brought back into politics as premier-in-waitIng after Premier Zhou Enlai who fell ill from cancer managed to convince Mao. However, he was purged yet again and removed from all leadership positions as a result of the Tiananmen Incident of 1976. Deng gradually emerged as the de facto leader of China only after Mao’s death in 1976 and that was when he could implement his ideas. As he said, “It doesn’t matter whether the cat is white or black, as long as it can catch mice.” To him, communism was merely a vehicle towards nation-building.

  15. #15 by ekompute on Thursday, 13 August 2009 - 12:15 am

    Lee HS :
    I heard of Burma during my secondary school days a backward country. After about 40 years Burma is still a backward country.

    Hi HS, what you heard is not so dramatic. You should read this: “Myanmar is today one of the poorest nations in Southeast Asia, suffering from decades of stagnation, mismanagement and isolation, after General Ne Win led a coup d’état in 1962 and drove the once most prosperous South East Asian country into an economic and social wreck with its Burmese Way to Socialism.” To me, the Burmese Way and the UMNO Way is no different. Malaysia is lucky to have so many natural resources, including petroleum. Once these natural resources runs out, we can then see the Monkey Way.

  16. #16 by anna brella on Thursday, 13 August 2009 - 4:33 am

    Along with countless others in the (relatively) Free world, I have so far refused to recognise General Than Shwe and his SLORC/SPDC’s ruling authority in Burma (not Myanmar as the Burmese people have not agreed to that name change) because it does not have the required legitimate governing authority provided through a voluntary mandate from the majority of the Burmese people.

    Along with countless others, I have also refused so far to recognise nor to accept General Than Shwe and his illegitimate SPDC’s authority or right to detain, under house-arrest or otherwise, the legitimately elected leader of a democratic Burma, Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, who was, as we all know, chosen overwhelmingly by the people of Burma to lead them in the free and fair democratic election held in 1990,where her NLD party won 392 seats (81%), other minority parties opposed to the SLORC won a further 65 seats/13% and the SLORC winning only 28seats/6% of the 485 seats contested in total.

    As all appeals to reason, good sense and even good conscience appear to have fallen on General Than Shwe’s deaf ears so far, and so have failed to secure Daw Aung San Suu Kyi release from her unlawful detention, it is now time for the peoepl of the Free world to up the ante and tell this heartless, fascist bastard of a dictator and his SPDC cohorts that the good conscience of the Free world will not stand by idly and watch as a powerless bystander any longer.

    So it is very welcome news to hear that sixty-five women’s groups, joined in support by countless others, are now turning to International Law and Justice, and to the UNSC and its ICC for help in securing Daw Aung San Suu Kyi’s release to enable her to lead Burma to a state of democracy which the Burmese people overwhelmingly voted for with that clear majority mandate in that 1990 free general election in Burma.

    It is time to tell this heartless fascist bastard General Than Shwe and the members of his unlawful SPDC that unless they are prepared to listen and heed international opinion on this serious matter – which is now thoroughly OUTRAGED at the further detention of this innocent woman for the clear purpose of preventing her from contesting in the planned “democratic” elections to be held in Burma in 2010 – the people of the Free world will work together ceaselessly to get a warrant out for his arrest in the same way that the collective conscience of the Free world dealt with other international criminals who perpetrated other instances of war crimes, genocide and crimes against humanity – such as the Nazi war criminals, the Serbian ex-leader Slobodan Milosevic, the Bosnian Serbs Radovan Karadic and the still on the run fugitive Ratko Mladic, and more recently, the man who is accused of crimes in the Drafur human tragedy, Sudan’s Omar al-Bashir.

    General Than Shwe and his cronies would be well-advised to re-consider their decision yesterday to keep Aung San Suu Kyi unlawfully detained for a further eighteen months because the clock is now ticking towards that internationally sanctioned ICC arrest order, and once that arrest warrant has been issued, there will be no going back for General Than Shwe and his “sorry, we were only following orders” subordinates from facing that international dock of Justice at the ICC for their crimes against humanity in Burma.

    Time too, for the rest of the ASEAN members, and also their big and cosy-comrades in trade – China, Russia and shamefully, India too – to also cut the usual asinine crap and get off their useless and/or scheming behinds and get our nasty General Than Shwe to listen to their good collective conscience and opt for good sense to prevail over the madness.

    Or ASEAN can let itself ,rightfully, be condemned by all right-thinking members of the international community for being guilty by association with these cheap Burmese pariahs in uniform thereby damning your ASEAN nation – particularly the so-called “developed” ones who ought to know better and even pretend to be democracies, like Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand – for its direct or indirect complicity and collusion in this unholy rape and plunder of the nation of Burma and the attendant crime against humanity that is clearly being committed there on an innocent Aung San Suu Kyi and the majority (94%) of the good and decent Burmese people in the full glare of international publicity which can clearly cut through the crap and see-through ASEAN’s and China’s and Russia’s and even India’s manipulative strategy now being exercised through the (wrong premised) concept of “non-interference” which wrong concept, if taken to its logical conclusion, will end up in endangering and poisoning for ALL of us in common humanity in the FREE world that good concept of a good society, no matter where it is that we may live now and call as our own society and homeland.

    “Imagine Power To The People” John Lennon.

  17. #17 by k1980 on Thursday, 13 August 2009 - 7:02 am

    Why are you condemning Myanmar when worse things are happening right here

  18. #18 by taiking on Thursday, 13 August 2009 - 9:01 am

    Sorry off topic.

    About Beng Hock’s inquest. The news report yesterday carried the observation of a certain witness that no defensive injuries were present on beng hock’s body.

    Very interesting.

    Anyone saw the clip posted in this blogsite last week showing the assult by some (supposedly) policemen? Saw how that poor fella was hit and struck and kicked? That was a real life situation. And it is ideal for a case study on the issue of defensive injuries. That fella hardly could defend himself. He dare not do so. He would be inviting more trouble if he did so. How come? The point is this: He was simply overwhelmed. He is alone in the confine space which is the domain of and under the absolute control of the (presumably) police. You would feel powerless and defenceless and not in control at all. The foregoing elaboration is on a crucial element which cannot be ignored. Defensive injury would be relevant only when that element is absent like say a snatch theft victim fighting off the thief.

  19. #19 by PSM on Thursday, 13 August 2009 - 10:20 am

    Bro Kit,

    ASEAN will just make a show of being concerned. At the end of the day they will say that they cannot interfere into another country’s business.
    Anyway, you think Malaysia is going to make such a fuss about ASSK? After all look what the MACC (& PDRM) is doing to the opposition Politicians! AND, soon the UMNO Government will be trying to get DSAI on false sodomy charges to shut him up (similat to what the Myanmar Junta is doing to ASSK).
    In fact it’s good for UMNO that the world is looking at the Myanmar Junta because they can “slowly” go about thier business of prosecuting the “PR”!

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