Written by U Ne Oo on 2001-07-30
Dr U Ne Oo
18 Shannon Place
Adelaide SA 5000
30 July 2001
Mr Kofi Annan
Secretary-General of UN
New York N.Y. 10017, USA
Facsimile: +1 212 963 4879
re: Stalled Dialogue in Burma
I should like to call your attention to the current state of dialogue between State Peace and Development Council -- ruling military junta of Burma -- and Daw Aung San Suu Kyi -- the general secretary of National League for Democracy. Since early this year the UN Secretary-General Office had made announcement about the dialogue, we the supporter of Burma democracy movement are in great concern that the reported dialogue process is not transparent and that the military junta may have been using various pressure tactics on detained NLD leaders. In fact, the existence of dialogue must even be called into question because there has never been a formal statement made by both parties to the dialogue, especially by Daw Aung San Suu Kyi.
Recently, our concerns on reported dialogue have been hightened as Daw Aung San Suu Kyi failed to appear at this year's Martyrs' Day Ceremony held on 19th July. We, the Burmese democracy supporters, believe that Daw Aung San Suu Kyi has declined to participate in this ceremony because the reported dialogue is at the state of total impasse. It is highly unlikely that Daw Aung San Suu Kyi refused to attend this important ceremony for any other reasons. You may also have noticed that Daw Aung San Suu Kyi has not been allowed to communicate directly to the general public since her house arrest began in September 2000.
I believe this is about time for the state of dialogue in Burma be made public by both sides and to allow the ethnic minority groups to participate in the dialogue process. As a first important step, the NLD and especially the Burmese junta must made public about current status, contents and schedule of the dialogue. This step is consistent with the recommendations of UN General Asembly Resolution 55/112 in which it states:
8. Expresses its concern that the composition and working procedures of the National Convention do not permit either members of Parliament-elect or representatives of the ethnic minorities to express their views freely, and urges the Government of Myanmar to seek new and constructive means to promote national reconciliation, and to restore democracy, including through the establishment of a time frame for action;
9. Strongly urges the Government of Myanmar, taking into account the assurances it has given on various occasions, to take all necessary steps towards the restoration of democracy in accordance with the will of the people as expressed in the democratic elections held in 1990 and, to this end without delay, to engage in a substantive political dialogue with political leaders, including Aung San Suu Kyi, and representatives of ethnic groups and, in this context, notes the existence of the Committee representing the People's Parliament; }
I therefore ask the UN Secretary-General to demand the military junta and NLD to fully disclose the content and schedule of the dialogue to the Burmese general public.
I should also like to express concern about recent agreement made by the military junta on the visit of ILO High-Level Team (HLT). This agreement is falling far short of the unofficial commitment made by the junta last year to accept a permanent ILO presence in Burma. In fact, the timing of proposed visit of ILO (September 2001) even suggests to generate confusion, again, about any outcome on the HLT visit to Burma and ILO decisions at this year's UN General Assembly debate on human rights situation in Burma.
On this occasion, I like to express support to the effort of ILO to bring the situation of forced labour in Burma into the discussion of ECOSOC agenda. In this connection, I thank the Secretariat of United Nations under your leadership as well as the European Council which had worked very hard to implement this ILO objective.
In closing, thank you for your kind attention to these matters.
(U Ne Oo)