Parliamentarians blast UN's "weak" response to Myanmar repression

(dpa) - Politicians elected to Myanmar's parliament but prevented from taking office by the country's junta issued an appeal to parliamentarians around the world Monday, rejecting the new military-dominated constitution and criticizing the United Nations' "weak" efforts to promote democratic rule.

Fourteen of the would-be Myanmar parliamentarians said efforts by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and his Special Envoy Ibrahim Gambari have been ineffective in pressuring the military government to moderate it's authoritarian policies and bring national reconciliation.

"The UN Security Council, the highest authoritative body of the United Nations, has failed to take an effective and timely action to stop one-sided act of the SPDC (State Peace and Development Council) and to enforce realizing of real national reconciliation and democratization in Burma," the parliamentarians' letter said.

"UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has remained weak, not using his position to call for the UN Security Council action on Burma and his Special Envoy Mr Gambari is apparently misleading the world body in favour of the military junta."

The junta announced on February 9 that it would hold a constitutional referendum in May of this year followed by a general election in 2010.

Ban Ki-moon sent his envoy Gambari to Myanmar on March 6 to try to persuade the SPDC to launch a credible process of national reconciliation.

The parliamentarians and other critics of the junta have lambasted the proposed constitution as a blatant attempt to perpetuate permanent military rule and exclude opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi and her National League for Democracy (NLD) from participating in the transition to democratic rule.

Suu Kyi's NLD won a landslide victory in the country's only democratic election in 1990, but the junta jailed or exiled most of the winning candidates. Suu Kyi remains under house arrest in Yangon.

In its open letter to the world's fellow-parliamentarians, congressmen and senators, the Myanmar MPs called for the UN Security Council to impose a binding resolution instructing the junta to implement genuine democratic reforms.

It also called on the world's governments to ban all weapons sales to Myanmar and urged the "Chinese government to stop protecting the Burmese military regime and start cooperating with members of the UNSC (UN Security Council) to enforce positive change in Burma."

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