Burma’s dissident groups demand removal of military’s homemade sanctionsBy Zin Linn Mar 25, 2011 9:36PM UTC
The All Burma Monks’ Alliance, 88 Generation Students and All Burma Federation of Student Unions made a joint statement on Wednesday demanding the immediate withdrawal of sanctions imposed by the military regime upon people in the poor country.
The SPDC or military regime is constantly blaming and rebuking sanctions imposed by western democracies. In the same way, political parties that contested the 2010 elections, as well as ASEAN countries, are also echoing the regime’s voice that foreign countries’ sanctions are a cause of poverty in Burma.
Those parties and the ASEAN countries have been clamoring to get favors from the regime to serve self-interests and business opportunities, the joint-statement said.
“Sanctions are made on the military regime and its cronies due to human rights violations, oppression of ethnic minorities, persecution and detention of political activists and abuse of power. If the junta wants to withdrawal of sanctions, it must improve in human rights situation,” the statement said.
The group additionally highlighted their criticism in their joint statement as follows.
Military’s monopolies, restrictions and mismanagement of the country’s resources are the cause of poverty on an immeasurable scale in Burma. International sanctions chiefly concentrate on the arms embargo, freezing the bank transactions of military junta and visa bans.
Poverty and difficult living conditions are not due to Western countries’ sanctions but rather the SPDC’s wrong policies that are intended to perpetuate its military ruling. These conditions occurred as a result of the military expanding its arms and military buildup, seeking nepotism and self-enrichment, and waging a civil war upon ethnic nationalities and entire pro-democracy forces rather than making a political settlement through dialogue, as the group pointed out in their joint-statement.
With such fallacious policies, the regime is imposing sanctions upon its own people, nailing them eternally to poverty. For instance the freedom of political parties, unions and civil society organizations for education, health and social welfare have been banned or restricted under unreasonable laws and decrees. Even UN agencies such as the UN Human Rights Council and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) are restricted, rejected or ignored by the junta.
Though the regime forbids civil servants engaging in politics, it allows army personnel to participate in politics. Moreover, they are even allowed to take a leading role in parliamentary politics without contesting the elections and without the people’s mandate.
Freedom of writing, printing, publishing and distribution through news media is restricted with all kinds of unfair laws. Freedom of gathering news is also banned. Foreign news agencies’ broadcasts are also forbidden in the armed forces. The installation of satellite antennas are not allowed so as to shut the eyes and ears of the military and the people.
All artistic creations such as poems and fiction, even traditional astrology pamphlets and traditional hip-hop chanting for the Thingyan (Water Festival) are banned or harshly censored.
Welfare services, free education charities, relief and assistance for victims of Cyclones Nargis or Giri and famine in Chin State are harassed, delayed or blocked under unfair laws and undue measures.
Internet users are restricted under many regulations using the following means; numerous websites are banned, Internet speeds are slowed down intentionally, spying measures are used at Internet cafes to invade privacy, threats are made with the Electronic Law, phone lines are tapped, mail is opened or undelivered. Citizens’ freedom of travels is also restricted with unnecessary decrees. The right of foreign travel is also restricted by banning passports.
These conditions are examples of the junta’s sanctions on civilians in politics, the economy, social affairs and culture, according to the groups’ joint-statement.
In realty, the military regime and recent political parties’ should not call on Western countries to lift sanctions on the military ruled country. Instead, they must call on the junta to remove the sanctions imposed on its own population.
The group – All Burma Monks’ Alliance, 88 Generation Students and All Burma Federation of Student Unions – seriously demand the incumbent military regime to make a pragmatic and honorable attempt to remove these homemade sanctions on the people.
The joint statement also urges the junta to initiate national reconciliation dialogue to create a good political and economic climate in poverty-stricken Burma.