Congressional Resolution Introduced to Reject the Constitution Made by the Burmese Military Junta (click to view PDF)

U.S. Campaign for Burma Press Release
Immediate Release
March 17, 2008
Media Contact: Jennifer Quigley at 202-234-8022 or 732-606-7508

(Washington, DC, March 17, 2008) The U.S. Campaign for Burma, a Washington DC-based organization mobilizing international support for freedom and democracy in Burma, today welcomes and supports the introducing of Congressional resolution, H. Con. Res. 317, calling for the President to call for the United Nations Security Council to not accept or recognize the state constitution, unilaterally written by the Burmese military junta, and the outcome of the upcoming referendum, scheduled for May this year.

House Concurrent Resolution 317 was introduced by Representatives Rush Holt (D-NJ), Howard Berman (D-CA) and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL) in the U.S. House of Representatives on March 14, 2008 and it was referred to the House Committee on Foreign Affairs for consideration.

Congressman Berman (D-CA) is Chairman of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, who has succeeded Congressman Tom Lantos (D-CA), who was a champion for the Burmese democracy movement and passed away last month. Congresswoman Ros-Lehtinen is Ranking Member of House Committee on Foreign Affairs. Congressman Holt serves on House Committee on Education and Labor, Committee on Natural Resources and Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence. All three Representatives are strong supporters of the nonviolent struggle for democracy and human rights for the people of Burma, led by the world's only imprisoned Nobel Peace Prize recipient Aung San Suu Kyi.

Congressman Rush Holt, author of the resolution said, "The Burmese people are determined to enjoy the same rights and freedoms that so many of take for granted. The heroic efforts of opposition leader and Nobel Peace Prize winner Aung San Suu Kyi and others have given hope to victims of terrible oppression, and they deserve our support. Passage of this resolution would send a strong signal to the people of Burma that we stand with them in their struggle for democracy."

Their resolution denounces the one-sided, undemocratic and illegitimate constitution drafting process and referendum by the Burmese military junta, known as the State Peace and Development Council (SPDC), insists the SPDC engage in a tripartite dialogue with democracy forces led by Aung San Suu Kyi and ethnic representatives, and demands the immediate and unconditional releases of Aung San Suu Kyi and all political prisoners. It also urges the President Bush to call for the UN Security Council to not accept and recognize the SPDC's constitution, pass a binding resolution which will enforce the SPDC to comply with recommendations made by the United Nations, and impose a global arms embargo.

They introduced the resolution after the SPDC flatly rejected all recommendations made by the United Nations, which are the establishment of an all-party inclusive transparent process of constitution writing, meaningful and time-bound dialogue with Aung San Suu Kyi, releasing all political prisoners, establishment of a broad-based poverty alleviation commission, opening of an office in Rangoon for the UN Special Envoy, and an offer to provide UN assistance to help ensure the referendum is free and fair. During the last visit of UN Special Envoy Ibrahim Gambari on March 6-10, the five top leaders of the SPDC, Senior-General Than Shwe, Vice-Senior-General Maung Aye, General Thura Shwe Mann, General Thein Sein and Lieutenant General Thiha Thura Tin Aung Myin Oo, refused to meet with Mr. Gambari. The highest level official whom Mr. Gambari was allowed to meet was Brig-Gen Kyaw Hsan, the SPDC's Minister of Information. On behalf of the SPDC, Kyaw Hsan rejected all of the UN's recommendations and even complained that The United Nations should stand fair and square without bias.

"We appreciate Representatives Holt, Berman and Ros-Lehtinen for this important initiative to not recognize the military junta's illegitimate constitution, which is designed to perpetuate the military dictatorship in Burma by vesting supreme power in the hands of the Chief of the military, Commander-in-Chief," says Aung Din, Executive Director of the U.S. Campaign for Burma. "People of Burma are determined to reject this sham constitution at any cost, which will make them slaves of the military for generations," continues Aung Din.

On March 14, 2008, UN Special Rapporteur on the Human Rights Situation in Burma ridiculed the junta's plan by saying that "if you believe in gnomes, trolls and elves, you can believe in this democratic process in Myanmar,” at a news briefing at the U.N.’s European headquarters in Geneva. However, Thai Prime Minister Samat Sundaravej, who recently came back from Burma, praised military leaders as strong devotees of Buddhism, and killing and suppression in the country are normal. "Tragically, like the Thai Prime Minister, there are some governments in Asia and Europe who believe in myths. We need similar actions from other Members of Parliament around the world to urge their respective governments to reject the junta's sham constitution and to apply more pressure on the Burmese military junta," added Aung Din.

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