A Step Forward, On a Long Path

AIPMC Press statement
13 October 2011

As part of the government of Myanmar’s earlier announcement of a general amnesty to release 6,359 prisoners starting from yesterday, at least 200 political prisoners have since been released. However, many more political prisoners, prisoners of conscience remain in indefinite detention. Thus, the AIPMC today reiterates its call for the release of all political prisoners.

While we welcome this news, AIPMC notes that the international community, especially ASEAN, must remain wary of suggestions that equate genuine democratic reform and political reform with this long over-due release. With each passing year, the international community has come to expect that the regime will concede a number of prisoners. Yet, we fear that this approach does little to counteract the grievous lack of substantive democratic reform.

Given ASEAN’s ongoing engagement with its fellow member state, Myanmar, we ask that ASEAN utilize this opportunity to join with the international community in strongly urging the junta to ensure that this amnesty extends to all political prisoners.

Only in tandem with genuine constitutional and political reform, might this amnesty be seen to resolve key human rights issues in Myanmar. ASEAN states have a particular role to play, and can assist this process in urging the junta to hold reconciliatory, participatory dialogue with non-state actors, including opposition and minority groups. Only then might a key tenet of democracy – that is, the engagement of all – be met.

Following this, we ask that the whereabouts of many other political prisoners, who have not been released, be made known to the public and international community at large, given long-standing concerns regarding the conditions under which they are kept.

Prison conditions in Myanmar, as Amnesty noted, “fall far short of many international standards. Food, water and medical care are insufficient; many political prisoners are held far away from their families; and most have been subjected to torture and other ill-treatment, including prolonged solitary confinement.” Such conditions continue to deny political prisoners their inherent dignity, as enshrined in all forms of international law and practice.
This includes both an end to arbitrary arrests of political figures, and a guarantee of rights to freedom of expression upon which a transition to democratic reform rests.

Finally, we reiterate calls that the regime to close Myanmar’s numerous, notoriously isolated prisons, such as the Insein. Such detainments are routinely described, as with Myanmar’s many illegal internment camps, as “hell”, “tantamount to a death sentence” for political prisoners and prisoners of conscience alike.

It is clear that the regime seeks to impress upon the international community its capacity for genuine democratic reform.

Should the military junta make known the whereabouts and actively improve the conditions under which its political prisoners are being detained, so too close its internment camps; then, and only then, will the junta move to restore democracy. Indeed, in Myanmar, such a move is merely one step in a democratic process long since overdue.

Eva Sundari , MP (Indonesia) President
Charles Chong, MP (Singapore) Vice-President
Dadoes Soemarwanto, MP (Indonesia) Member
Kraisak Choonhavan (Thailand) Vice President
Lorenzo Tanada, MP (The Philippines) Vice President
Son Chhay, MP (Cambodia) Vice-President
Lim Kit Siang, MP (Malaysia) Vice-President
Teresa Kok, MP (Malaysia) Secretary

The ASEAN Inter-Parliamentary Myanmar Caucus (AIPMC) is a network formed in an inaugural meeting in Kuala Lumpur, on 26-28 November 2004 by and for Parliamentarians from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) countries. The aim is advocating for human rights and democratic reform in Myanmar/Burma. Its members represent both the ruling and non-ruling political parties of countries such as Malaysia, Indonesia, Singapore, Thailand, Philippines and Cambodia.

  1. #1 by monsterball on Friday, 14 October 2011 - 5:03 pm

    Human Rights in Malaysia is nonsense.
    How can you have Human Rights when individual rights are controlled?
    It is hundreds of years…fine tuned words.
    It was the strong making the weak submit or be killed.
    It is now…no better.
    It leaves to each country to chart their future.
    In Malaysia….rouges and thieves are governing and controlling.
    It is up to People Power to get rid of these people and test another group of politicians…to govern our country.
    Only that way….Malaysians can hope to experience true Human Rights and Individual Rights….through an uncorrupted Laws and Orders system…where no politicians can buy their loyalties with money.
    Religions must be truly free all Malaysians.
    Only that way….we can say…we are on the right path to respect Human Rights and Individual Rights.
    Such a blessed country being plundered and robbed by a corrupted lot with dirty politics … for decades.
    Change it…and see the real Malaysia.

  2. #2 by Jeffrey on Friday, 14 October 2011 - 6:46 pm

    Sure a step forward, a loing path. Laudable though AIPMC’s call may be but realistically will ASEAN join international community to exert (real as distinct from token lip service) pressure on fellow Military Junta? I doubt it. Would a deer (non predatory) be able to get up to the predatory tiger to persuade it to bite another predator, the lion’s neck? Fact is ASEAN is not ASEAN peoples but governments and ASEAN governments and ruling politicians are generally authoritarian and have neither democratic credentials nor aspiration to want promote in Myanmar that (Democracy) which they could themeslves not do all that well in their own countries. And AIPMC – out of 8 parliamentarians the majority of at least 5 are from the Opposition than ruling party’s ranks: Eva Sundari, Kraisak, Son Chhay besides Kit & Theresa. Ruling politicians are more interested in towing ruling party agenda, one of which that figures more prominently is how to make lucrative contracts with Military Junta than to prioratise abstract democracy, peoples power Arab Spring and rocky the gravy train.

  3. #3 by Jeffrey on Friday, 14 October 2011 - 7:02 pm

    “…than rock the gravy train…” Sorry.

  4. #4 by Jeffrey on Friday, 14 October 2011 - 7:02 pm

    “and rock the gravy train” Sorry again

  5. #5 by tak tahan on Friday, 14 October 2011 - 11:40 pm

    err..so confused the last part and cheong hei.Pls rephrase it lah..what talking is this!

  6. #6 by monsterball on Saturday, 15 October 2011 - 3:32 am

    tak tahan ..don’t read long winded and you will be happier….hahahahaha

  7. #7 by Jeffrey on Saturday, 15 October 2011 - 6:17 am

    Hei, fellas the last part is not “cheong hei”. You will note that it was a correction of even an intended correction. I just want to apologize to readers here for my frequent mis-spellings as in many of my postings (not just this one). Monsterball, you’d appreciate that at my age, my sight is dim, can’t see most times that clearly what’s on the computer screen that I have typed with my shaky knotted fingers due to neuromuscular condition.

  8. #8 by monsterball on Saturday, 15 October 2011 - 7:16 am

    I did sms tak tahan that you are a nice old man…Jeffrey.
    Try to slow down abit.

  9. #9 by monsterball on Saturday, 15 October 2011 - 7:19 am

    tak tahan…..Jeffery is a real freedom fighter…constant and never changed.
    Please tolerate his old age….that is….if he is really that old.
    In blogging….no one can see the real you.

  10. #10 by monsterball on Saturday, 15 October 2011 - 7:21 am

    But Lim Kit Siang and I have seen each other face to face…so when I write..I am not faceless..nameless..to blog owner.
    PS: He still owe me a tea tarek and roti chani treat.

  11. #11 by tak tahan on Saturday, 15 October 2011 - 10:38 am

    Sorry Jeffrey.It was meant to be joke and not sarcastic.Cheers!

  12. #12 by monsterball on Saturday, 15 October 2011 - 10:43 am

    You are a true gentleman…tak tahan.

  13. #13 by monsterball on Saturday, 15 October 2011 - 10:52 am

    Even Myanmar is getting ahead of Malaysia towards a democratic country.
    At one time…Myanmar was like jungle country… compared to Malaysia.
    But now…we are actually the jungle country with jungle laws and orders.
    Our Govt. cannot change…just talk will change for the better.
    Change they become a weak Opposition.
    Don’t change….still have 32% support…no more but getting lesser…so much so…Mahathir told Najib to enjoy his unelected PMship ..to the last day…blaming his blue eye boy..the cause of his UMNO b downfall.
    Mamak forgot he could not even win a tiny Kedah village election and blame that to votes buying by his opponents.
    Imagine..7 candidates..he came out 6th position.
    If you visit Kedah…you will know..almost all Muslims hate and despise him.

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