Dr. Manmohan Singh
Honorable Prime Minister of India
Date: 3rd November, 2010 [Download PDF File]
Subject: Petition to the Government of India to Review its Policy on Burma
Honorable Prime Minister,
We, civil society groups in India, are submitting this petition to you ahead of and in relation to the upcoming elections in Burma on 7 November 2010 which have been proposed by the military regime as a clear attempt to entrench and legitimize military rule in Burma. We most strongly urge your government to not endorse Burma’s military regime’s sham constitution and elections, as they will only lead to the entrenchment of military rule in Burma, and to instead lend your support to the three benchmarks that we list below towards bringing about peace and stability in Burma.
In short, the proposed “elections” will enact the 2008 Constitution, which not only contains many undemocratic measures including giving the military effective veto power over decisions made by the new parliament and government, but also depriving people of their basic human rights by stipulating “exception clauses,” and preserving draconian laws that explicitly prohibit freedom of speech, association, and assembly. Thus, this constitution is designed to keep the dictatorship in power and will not bring any new freedom to the people of Burma.
Furthermore, the election cannot be free and fair under the present situation. Democracy activists in Burma have been imprisoned, intimidated, tortured and put to death for demanding justice, peace, human rights and a democratic government. Presently, there are over 2,200 political prisoners in Burma, including Nobel Peace Laureate Aung San Suu Kyi, recipient of Jawaharlal Nehru’s Award for International Understanding, who has been under house arrest for 15 of the past 20 years and is being barred from participating in this year’s elections.
The main opposition party, the National League for Democracy (NLD) led by Daw Aung San Suu Kyi is left with no other choice under the entirely unfair election laws imposed by the military regime except to denounce this election.
We, Indian civil society groups, have endorsed the persistent call on the military regime by Burmese pro-democracy groups to meet the following three benchmarks, which are essential for bringing about peace and stability in Burma:
At this point in time, when Burma is in a critical situation, and especially now that India has been elected to the UN Security Council, we believe that India must use its political and moral authority in the region and globally to play a crucial role in the process of national reconciliation and restoration of democracy in Burma. The first and minimum requirement is that the Government of India must not endorse and thereby recognize Burma’s military regime’s sham constitution and elections, as they will only lead to the entrenchment of military rule in Burma. The second is support for the above benchmarks.
We stand firmly in solidarity with the peoples of Burma, and we earnestly urge the Government of India and the All India Congress Committee (AICC) to join with the UN and the international community in taking concrete action to secure the release of Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and ensure genuine democratic change in Burma.
Indian civil society groups