By Ariel Lin
Impunity Watch Reporter, Asia
YONGANG, Myanmar – U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon called on Myanmar’s Government and opposition to increase dialogue in his latest report to the General Assembly. The report covers Myanmar’s development between 23 October 2007 and 5 September 2008, when the junta faced global condemnation for its crackdown on the biggest opposition protests in almost 20 years. It also highlights UN envoy Ibrahim Gambari failure to meet with Suu Kyi or win concessions from the regime when he visited Myanmar in August.
In the report, Ban said “it remains a source of frustration that meaningful steps have yet to be taken by the Myanmar authorities in response to the concerns and expectations of the United Nations and the international community.” The main U.N. demands have been for the junta to release political prisoners, including Aung San Suu Kyi, and start a serious dialogue with the opposition. However, it is unfortunate that specific suggestions of the United Nations to improve the credibility and inclusiveness of the political process have thus far not been taken up by the government. Ban continued, “It is unfoHe urges all countries aiming for a solution in Myanmar to “work constructively together” in support of the UN’s efforts.
Myanmar Junta announced it had overwhelming public support in a May on an army-drafted constitution referendum, which was part of a process meant to culminate in multiparty elections in 2010 and end a nearly 20-year political stalemate. However, Western countries have condemned the referendum as a sham. Myanmar appointed a liaison officer to meet with the opposition leader Suu Kyi five times between November and January. The talks, the first since 2003, then stopped. The UN also remains concerned about ongoing reports of armed conflict, associated human rights abuses, and humanitarian problems in ethnic minority areas, particularly in Kayin and Kayah states.
For more information, please see:
Bloomberg – Myanmar’s Failure to Talk With Suu Kyi Frustrates UN, Ban Says – 21 October 2008
Reuters – U.N.’s Ban frustrated by Myanmar inaction – 20 October 2008
UN News Centre- Enhanced dialogue among all parties vital for Myanmar’s political future – 20 October 2008