Former National Convention Delegations Urge Boycott

July 15, 2007 1:29 am Published by Leave your thoughts

(July 15, 2007/ Bangkok, Thailand) Ethnic ceasefire groups and political parties have been urged to boycott the coming session of the National Convention that’s due to begin sitting on 18 July 2007.

In a press conference on the Thai-Burma border today, five former delegates to previous sessions of the National Convention (NC) said participation would only serve the junta’s interests. Their own experiences of the illegitimate process compelled them to advise potential delegates to the 2007 convention not to attend.

“Participation in the NC would not lead to any good. I urge ceasefire groups to pull out of this sham convention,” said Sai Ti Saung, vice-chairman of the Shan State Nationalities People Liberation Organization, who was a delegate in the 2004/05 NC.

“The only outcome for Burma will be increased militarization, armed conflict and chaos,” predicted U Khun Mar Ko Ban, member of parliament and former NC representative from the Democratic Organization for Kayan National Unity. He said any constitution resulting from the NC would further oppress the ethnic peoples of Burma.

The National Convention to draft “principles” for a new constitution was concocted as an excuse to avoid convening Parliament by the Burmese military when it lost the 1990 elections. The first session was held in 1993. The State Peace and Development Council (SPDC) has promised that the National Convention will be completed by the end of this year.

Only 12 elected MPs will be among the over 1,000 delegates. The National League for Democracy (NLD), Shan Nationalities League for Democracy (SNLD) and component parties of the United Nationalities League for Democracy (UNLD), accounting for about 90% of the parliamentary seats, continue to be excluded from the constitution drafting body.

Most of the delegates are unelected and unrepresentative of the peoples of Burma, such as members of the junta-backed Union Solidarity Development Association and other cronies who have been handpicked by the regime.

NCUB, organizer of the press conference, said the NC is merely an attempt by the junta to formally perpetuate its military rule and enslave the people. The country needs a constitution that guarantees the democratic rights of its citizens and that prioritizes the rule of law – something that the NC is only further serving to undermine.

“We believe the constitution that would be adopted by the sham convention is going to be diametrically opposed to the genuine constitution which the National Council of the Union of Burma has in mind,” said U Myint Thein, Joint General Secretary-1, NCUB. “This belief is bolstered by the today’s testimony of the constitution delegates who have walked out of sham NC.”


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