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Burma/Thail: Parliamentary committe

Subject: Burma/Thail: Parliamentary committe

/* Written  3:47 pm  Oct 18, 1993 by tun@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx in igc:reg.seasia */
/* ---------- "Burma/Thail: Parliamentary committe" ---------- */
Subject: Burma/Thail: Parliamentary committee expressed concern

Bkk Post, Oct 9, 1993

Burmese rights abuses worry parliamentarians

A Parliamentary committee has expressed concern about continuing human 
rights abuses on Burma.
  "The dignity of the Burmese people continues to be trampled on by the 
ruling military junta of Burma, commonly known as SLORC," said Dr Sutin 
Nophaket, chairman of the Parliamentary Committee on Justice and Human 
Rights, in a statement yesterday.
  Dr Sutin met reporters "to share our concerns about the continuing and 
appalling violations of human rights in Burma."
  He listed his committee's demands which include:
  -The immediate and unconditional release of Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and 
all other political prisoners and prisoners of conscience;
  -That all members of parliaments and the governments of the region 
bring pressure on SLORC to return full human rights to all the people of 
  -That ASEAN nations set conditions on Burma's acceptance as a member.
  These conditions should include release of all political prisoners, an 
immediate ceasefire and end to human-rights abuses, a "guarantee that 
all ethnic nationalities would be allowed to live in safety and peace," 
and turning over of power to those elected in 1991, he said.
  Dr Sutin made his statement at a press conference held by Dr Edward 
Broadbent, president of the International Centre for Human Rights and 
Democratic Development.
  The Montreal, Canada based centre sponsored the February visit of eight 
Nobel Peace Prize laureates in support of fellow laureate and Burmese 
democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi, who the SLORC has kept under house 
arrest in Rangoon for four years.
  A reporter noted that the committee's position differed greatly from 
that of the Government and asked Dr Sutin's opinion of the policy of 
"constructive engagement."
  The chairman replied that his committee's position "has nothing to do 
with the government's policy."
  The Parliamentary Committee on Justice and Human Rights was formed in 
Nov. 1992.  It contains 17 members, drawn from all parties.
  The committee's members yesterday became the first to sign a worldwide 
"parliamentary petition" the Broadbent-led centre officially launched 
  The centre is asking elected members of parliaments in more than 100 
countries to sign a petition demanding the relase of Aung San Suu Kyi and 
other political prisoners in Burma.
  The signatures will be presented to UN Secty. Genl. Boutros 
Boutros-Ghali by the end of this year.
  "I for one hope this petition will result in some action by the UN" on 
human rights and democracy in Burma, said Dr Broadbent.
  He said the longer the UN delayed dealing with Burma, the greater 
chance the SLORC would be seen as legitimate by its nieghbours in SE Asia.
  He called the parliamentary petition "a particularly important symbolic 
act" because its signatories would be democratically elected members of 
  The members of Dr Sutin's committee were the first of "hundreds, 
possibly thousands of elected parliamentarians" who would sign the 
petition, said Dr. Broadbent.
  Dr. Sutin said "people should be treated better" in Thai "safe camps" 
for refugees from Burma.  He said he could not cite specific examples of 
  Dr Broadbent noted what he said was effective pressure brought on 
military regimes in Haiti and Peru by the Organisation of American States.
  He said ASEAN could affect similar change in Burma by applying similarly 
concerted, collective pressure on the SLORC.
  Dr. Broadbent and Iris Almeida, the centre's Head of Asia and Africa 
Programmes, lease Thailand today for visits to South Korea and Japan.