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BURMA HUMAN RIGHTS REPORT OCT 95 (5 (r)
Subject: BURMA HUMAN RIGHTS REPORT OCT 95 (5.16-5.31)
/* posted Wed 14 Feb 6:00pm 1995 by DRUNOO@xxxxxxxxxxxx(DR U NE OO) in igc:reg.burma */
/* -----------" BURMA HUMAN RIGHTS REPORT, OCT 95 (5.16 -5.31) "---------- */
Following materials are reproduction from the findings of Human Rights
Sub-Committee of the Joint Standing Committee on Foreign Affair, Defence
and Trade of the Parliament of Australia, published in October 1995.
Anyone wishing to inquire about the document may contact Ms Margaret
Swieringa, Secretary, Human Rights Sub-Committee, Parliament House,
Canberra A.C.T. 2600, AUSTRALIA.
Best regards, U Ne Oo.
CHAPTER FIVE: (5.16 - 5.31)
The Parliament of the Commonwealth of Australia
Joint Standing Committee of Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade
A REPORT ON HUMAN RIGHTS AND THE LACK OF PROGRESS TOWARDS DEMOCRACY
IN BURMA (MYANMAR) October 1995
CHAPTER FIVE: PROGRESS TOWARDS DEMOCRACY (5.16 - 5.31)
The National Convention
5.16 The major means the SLORC has used to asset its legitimacy and to
allay criticism of its failure to hand over power has been the National
5.17 In 1992, a National Convention Committee was formed by the SLORC with
the purpose of convening a National Convention to draw up a new
constitution and, it would appear, to circumvent criticism. This Convention
has ignored the existence of elected representatives of the people. Its
(i) Non-disintegration of the Union:
(ii) Non-disintegration of the national solidarity:
(iii) Perpetuation of sovereignty;
(iv) Flourishing of a genuine multi-party democracy system;
(v) Further burgeoning of the noblest and worthiest of wordly
values, namely justice, liberty and equality in the State;
(vi) For the Tatmadaw to be able to participatein the national
political leadership role of the State.
5.18 In February 1995, the Burmese Ambassodar t the United Nations
described the work of the National Convention:
The National Convention, comprisong some 700 representatives and
representatives-elect, is currently engaged in the task of laying
down the basic principles for the elaboration of a strong and
The National Convention constitutes a truly representative body,
comprising representatives from the entire cross-section of social
strata of the Myanmar people.
At present the National Convention is continuing its work on
various chapters and provisions, reflecting the views and
containing suggestions of participating representatives .
5.19 From the information presented to this Committee, none of these claims
stand up to scrutiny; the National Convention is not truly representative;
it does not reflect the views of the participating representatives; and
therefore it is unlikely to produce a strong and enduring constitution
certainly not one that has any semblance of democracy about it.
5.20 The National Convention was convened on 9 January 1993. It was made up
of eight groups of delegates.
(i) Delagates of political parties;
(ii) Representatives elected at the May 1990 election;
(iii) Delegates of nationalities;
(iv) Delegates of peasantry;
(v) Delegates of workers;
(vi) Delegates of intellectuals and intelligentsia;
(vii) Delegates of State service personnel; and
(viii) Delegates who should be invited.
5.21 IN all 702 delegates attended the first session of the Convention: 99
were representatives who had won seats at the May 1990 elections, another
48 came from political parties, categroies 1 and 2 above. Therefore over
550 of the delegates were selected by the SLORC. Since 1993, the attendance
at the Convention has declined by 61 delegates. At the beginning, only one
in seven delegates were representatives in the democratic sense of the
5.22 The Committee recommends that:
20. THE AUSTRALIAN GOVERNMENT URGE THE GOVERNMENT OF BURMA TO INCLUDE A
GREATER NUMBER OF THE NATIONAL LEAGUE FOR DEMOCRACY REPRESENTATIVES
AND A MORE REPRESENTATIVE GROUP OF DELEGATES FROM THE ETHNIC
MINORITIES IN THE DELIBERATIONS OF THE NATIONAL CONVENTION.
5.23 The procedures for the working of the Convention have been
controversial and contrary to any genuine attempt to consider properly the
views even of teh hand picked delegates. Issues for discussion are raised
first in plenary sessions where the view of the SLORC is put before the
Convention. Discussion then take place in each of the eith separate groups.
Each group has an executive panel of five from which a furhter panel of
charimen is selected to report back to the plenary sessions. At each stage
of this hierarchy official SLORC representatives are inserted into the
group. All papers that are to be delivered have to be submitted in advance
to the National Convention Convening Committee (NCCC) and anything
enamating from group discussions, which is to be raised in the plenary
session, must be represented in outline to the Panel of Chairman first.
Human Rights Watch/Asia reports that the final 'agreed' principles rarely
vary from the initial proposals put at the outset by the National
Convention Convening Committee, ie the SLORC.
5.24 Delegates may not distribute any written material other than what is
approved. They may not wear badges, lobby each other, hold intra-party
discussions, bring in papers, distribute papers outside the convention,
demonstrate against the proceedings or walk out. Delegates must live in
especially provided quarters at the convention centre where they are
supervised by military intellegence. Tehy may not leave without permission
and may not meet with their constituents. The discussions of the convention
are only reported to the public through the Government censored media.
5.25 In February 1993, 14 people were arrested for distributing material
critical of the convention. Dr Aung Khin Sint, and NLD delegate and his
assistant U Than Hla, were arrested and sentenced to 20 years and 15 years
in prison respectively for distributing material critical of the role of
the junta in the convention.
5.26 U Daniel Aung, Chairman of the political committee of the National
Convention, left the Convention at the end of its fourth session. He
expressed his disillusionment in the following terms:
I have lost all faith in the National Convention convened by the
SLORC and have therefore come over to the liberated area. Although
the delegates to the National Convention are supposed to draft the
aims and objectives of the Convention, the SLORC has already laid
them down in advance. The basic principles that are supposed to be
drafted by the delegates were already prepared and laid down by the
SLORC. The delegates were merely asked to discuss these principles,
but the suggestions given and the positions formulated by the
delegates were never respected by the SLORC.In the end the
guidelines prepared by the SLORC were adopted without any
modifications. The SLORC took appropriate measures to ensure this
would happen. The principles for selecting the President of the
State which it adopted made it obvious that the whole
administrative machinery will remain dominated by the military
5.27 Human Rights Watch/Asia concluded that 'it is clear from these
developments that the SLORC has used every means possible to manipulate the
political process and deny the citizens of Burma thier right, as expressed
in Article 25 of ICCPR, to take part in the conduct of public affairs,
directly or thorugh freely elected representatives.' IN doing so they have
not only violated the most basic of international human rights standards,
but also their own laws .
5.28 The UN Special Rapporteur concurred that the National Convention was
marred by excessive control, survelliance and harassment of delegates, and
a lack of true representation and free exchange of ideas. More, he believed
that, despite the assurances of the Government of Burma to the contrary,
they did not intend to transfer power. In particular, he concluded that:
given the composition of the delegates (only one in seven delegates
was elected at the 1990 elections), the restrictions imposed on the
delegates (practically no freedom to assembly, to print and
distribute leaflets or to make statements freely) and the general
guidelines to be strictly followed (including the principle of the
leading role of the Tatmadaw), the National Convention does not
appear to constitute the necessary 'steps toward the restoration of
democracy, fully respecting the will of the people as expressed in
the democratic elections held in 1990'. (General Assembly
Resolution 47/144, para 4)
5.29 The INter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) Committee on the Human Rights of
Parliamentarians has monitored the fate of the members elected in May 1990
to the Pyithu Hluttaw. The IPU made the following judgement on the National
(REaffirms,underlined) its indignation that, more than four years
after the elections held on 27 May 1990, the authorities of the
Union of Myanmar continue to ignore the outcome of the election,
and insists that this constitutes a violation of the principle
established in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights that 'the
will of people shall be the basis of the authority of government'
(Reiterates, underlined) in this respect that the National
Convention convened by the SLORC on 9 January 1993 con in no way be
regarded as a spep towards the restoration of democracy respecting
the will of the people as expressed in the democratic elections
held in 1990.
5.30 The Committee recommends that:
21. THE AUSTRALIAN GOVERNMENT URGE THE GOVERNMENT OF BURMA TO PROVIDE
OBSERVER STATUS TO THE INTERNATIONAL PRESS, DIPLOMATIC
REPRESENTATIVES AND REPRESENTATIVES OF THE INTER-PARLIAMENTARY
UNION TO THE PROCEEDINGS OF THE NATIONAL CONVENTION.
5.31 The principles so far laid down for the new constitution of Burma do
not bode well for the development of democracy. In particular, the army is
to retain a central and powerful position, no be subject, as it should be,
to the decisions, directions, scrutiny and control of the elected
government. It will be free to administer its own affairs, it will have, by
appointment, approximately 25 per cent of the seats in each of the House of
Representatives and the House of Nationalities. The President will be
required to have experience in the fields of political, administrative and
military affairs and may not be married to a foreigner. This last condition
is obviously designed to preclude Aung San Suu Kyi from holding office.
 Letter dated 13 February 1995 from the Permanent Representative of
Myanmar, op. cit. pp. 4-5.
 Exhibit No. 44, Human Rights Watch/Asia reports that this Committee is
made up of Maj Gen Myo Nyunt (member of the SLORC, Minister for Religious
Affairs and Rangoon Divisional Commander) Chairman; Maj Gen Maung Thint
(Member of the SLORC and Minister for Border Areas) Vice Chairman; Brig Gen
Myo Thant (SLORC member) and Brig Gen Aung Thein (SLORC member and
secretary of the defences services and public relations and psychological
 Exhibit No. 8, National Coalition Government of the Union of Burma,
'Analysing the SLORC's National Convention,' p.5.
 Exhibit No 44., p.13.
 Report of the Special Rapporteur, op.cit.p.34.
 Exhibit No. 29, Inter-Parliemantary Union, 'Report of the Committee on
the Human Rights of Parliamentarians', CL/156/11(a)-R.1, April 1995, p. 97.
ENDS(5.16 - 5.31)\