Written by U Ne Oo on 2005-07-04
One ASEAN official made a usual comment about how if ASEAN lose "contact" with the Burmese junta, the organisation may lost its "leverage" to initiate a change in Burma. Of course this has been the very same rationale which used to justify Burma to admit its membership in 1997. These were the hey-days for Dr Mahathir, so to speak.
End of the line?
ASEAN normally exercise 'non-interference' on the internal affairs of its members. How come this trend got turned around ? A timeline of evolvement of the events are recorded on this page.
Unfortunately, this "Constructive Engagement" with Burmese junta has not given desired results. Eversince Burma was granted Asean membership, the only "positive" humanitarian outcome is SPDC/SLORC participation of UN administered repatriation plan for 230,000 Rohingyas; refugees who fled to Bangladesh in 1991-92 crackdowns . Otherwise, the road towards political reconciliation between opposition NLD and SPDC/SLORC is getting no where; even getting worse.
Burma-Rohingya problem itself is still unresolved. There are about 22,000 Rohingyas for which the Burmese junta has found no ground receiving back. Many of those Rohingyas who went back to Burma under the UN plan had to sneak out of the country again because of hardships. Within the country, the Rohingya returnees were not given national identity card and are restricted of their rights to movemets.
Whilst lawmakers in Asean begin to say "NO" to the odoius Burmese military junta; the best thing Burmese junta should have done is to voluntarily relinquish the position. This way Asean will have been saved.
Those military junta in Rangoon, it is about time to give up what you don't deserve. Don't drag Asean into the mess again.
-- U Ne Oo.