Instead, the junta continues to violate human rights and poses as a threat to regional peace and security (the military regime is suspected of secretly exploring nuclear capabilities).
Their main aim has always been to ensure that Aung San Suu Kyi would not be able to play a role in next year’s general election, and they have not budged an inch on this. The connection of this case to the elections was further underlined by the government’s justification of her continued detention, saying that true supporters of democracy do not want them to be marred by riots and unrest. It should be remembered that there are still thousands of political opponents languishing in prison, and it is safe to assume that they will remain there for the same purpose.
The world is again outraged, but it is Asean which stands to lose in real terms, being guilty by association. Thus, Asean must take firm and prompt action to bring their recalcitrant member into line, especially with the human rights principles stated in the Asean Charter – a major step which could improve the current poor standing of Asean nations in the world.
If Asean still wants to save the face of the junta’s leaders, they could do this by initiating a renewed communal effort towards enhancing standards of democracy and human rights in Burma.
WAN AZIZAH WAN ISMAIL
Parti Keadilan Rakyat