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/* Written 19 Jan 6:00am 1997 by drunoo@xxxxxxxxxxxx in igc:reg.burma */
/* --------------" Letter to UNHCHR (25/11/96) "----------------- */

Dr U Ne Oo

November 25, 1996.

Mr Jose Ayala-Lasso
U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights
c/- U.N. Centre for Human Rights
CH - 1211 Geneva 10

Dear High Commissioner:

Re: The United Nations General Assembly resolution on Myanmar in 1996
I am a Burmese national presently residing in Australia and I call the High
Commissioner for Human Rights' attention to the continuing serious
violation of human rights and the lack of progress towards democracy i the
State of Myanmar. In this connection, I enclose with this letter the
statement made by the State Law and Order Restoration Council (SLORC) on 27
September 1988 regarding with assuming of state power. I also would like to
refer to the Paragraph 30-33 of the interim report on the Situation of
Human Rights in Myanmar, A/51/466, prepared by Judge Rajsoomer Lallah.

The military authorities promised in their statement on 27 September 1988
that SLORC will not hold on to power for long period and will transfer the
state power to democratically elected government. On contrary to that
statement, the military authorities have refused to transfer power to the
people's representatives after the election in 27 May 1990. As has been
pointed out by Special Rapporteur in Para. 31 of his interim report, the
present situation in Myanmar, particularly of the period following May-1990
election, no longer necessary for the military rule to be continue. I
therefore request the High Commissioner for Human Rights to make measures
to ensure the SLORC respect the result of May-1990 election and, also, to
remove the illegitimate Myanmar's military government from the office.

Firstly, I request the High Commissioner to make measure to highlight the
illegitimacy of SLORC in this year's U.N.General Assembly resolution. We
notice that the previous years' U.N. General Assembly resolutions only
include, among other measures, the paragraph urging the SLORC to respect
the result of May-1990 election.  I ask the High Commissioner for Human
Rights to introduce a paragraph, in this years' U.N. General Assembly
resolution, which explicitly states that the rulings of the State Law and
Order REstoration Council after 27 May 1990 Election is un-constitutional
and an illegitimate one; eventhough the SLORC has an effective control of
the country. I believe that such measure by UN General Assembly will
enhance the legitimacy of the democratic struggle in Burma.

Secondly, I request the High Commissioner for Human Rights to support
creation of safety zone in Myanmar. As the High Commissioner may aware, the
situation of Burma's refugees and displaced people has been a long-standing
one which require an urgent solution. I ask the High Commissioner request
the U.N. Security Council to convene a meeting on Burma in order to solve
this serious human rights problem.

Finally, I thank the High Commissioner for your kind attention to Burma
matters. I also wish to express my sincere thanks to the United Nations
Human Rights Committee and, particularly, the Special Rapporteur, Judge
Rajsoomer Lallah, for their continuing kind efforts made on Burma.

Yours respectfully and sincerely,
Sd. U Ne Oo.

1. Dr Boutros Boutros-Ghali, U.N. Secretary-General, U.N. Secretariat,
   United Nations, New York NY 10017, United States of America.
2. Ms Sadako Ogata, U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees, Case Postale 2500,
   CH - 1211 Geneva 2 - Depot, Switzerland.
3. Hon. Rajsoomer Lallah, Special Rapporteur for HUman Rights in Myanmar,
   C/- U.N. Centre for Human Rights, CH - 1211 Geneva 10, Switzerland.
4. Hon. Warren Christopher, United States Secretary of State, Main State
   Building, 2201 C Street NW, Washington D.C. 20520-7512, United States of
PARAGRAPHS 30-33 OF A/51/466

D. Non-conformity of the legal framework with international norms

30. Article 21 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights proclaims, in
paragraph 1, that everyone has the right to take part in the government of
his country, directly or through freely chosen representatives. It further
proclaims, in paragraph 3, that the will of the people shall be the basis
of the authority of government and that this will shall be expressed in
periodic and genuine elections.

31. In essence, the assumption of all governmental powers by SLORC in 1988
constituted, as mentioned earlier, a break from constitutionality and legal
continuity and further constituted a departure from the norms governing the
enjoyment of political rights proclaimed in article 21 of the Universal
Declaration. There could, arguably, have been some legitimacy in the
assumption of power by SLORC, without the consent of the people, in
circumstances which could be said to have amounted to a state of public
emergency threatening the life of the nation. IN any event, as its name
indicates, an emergency is only temporary and cannot be said to last longer
than a given situation requires. It is not uncommon, however, to have a
civilian government managing a state of emergency, with the military
playing an important role, but still under policy directions of the civil
authorities. In the case of Myanmar, general elections took place so that a
civilian government was chosen as a result of the freely expressed will of
the people. The will of the people has remained frustrated for a period
which is now in excess of five years. The question arises, with growing
urgency, as to whether any juridical legitimacy that could, arguably, have
been derived from past acquiescence in the assumption of power by the
Military forces can any longer provide a defensible basis for the continued
maintenance of a non-constitutional system based on the assumption of
martial powers, having such an unfavourable impact on human rights in the
context of generally accepted international norms and the obligations
undertaken by Myanmar.

32. SLORC gave the explanation, in Declaration No.1/1990, that the People's
Assembly could not be convened until a constitution was drafted and that it
was the responsibility of the elected representatives to draft the
constitution. However, it has not been left to the People's Assembly,
returned by the people, to draft the Constitution and determine the
principles on which it should be founded. Instead, a National Convention,
consisting of delegates who in their overwhelming majority were not
returned by the people, was devised some three years after the general
elections of 1990. Two features of this convention requires to be
mentioned. First, it was expressly mandated to adopt principles on the
basis of which a democratic constitution would be drafted by the People's
Assembly. Already, however, the mandate contained the principle that the
Armed Forces would have a leading political role in the constitutional
system. It is questionable whether this principle would be consistent with
article 21 (3) of the UNiversal Declaration of HUman Rights, which requires
that the will of the people "shall be expressed in periodic and genuine
elections" and that although the Armed Forces can be understood to be part
of the State's services, it cannot be understood how they could be
periodically elected. In any event, this principle could not be said to
have been a political principle approved by the people in the general
elections of 1990. Second, three more years have gone by since the National
Convention started its work and from all accounts it would appear that
detailed provisions are being worked out for a constitution and not merely
general principles which could be considered by the People's Assembly in
the drafting of the constitution.

33. With regard to the proceedings of the National Convention, the main
criticisms which have been variously made have centred around, first, the
composition of the delegates and the absence of genuine and proper
representation of members returned at the general elections; second, the
restrictions imposed upon the delegates and the restrictive procedures
which are required to be followed; and third, the restricted opportunity
for meaningful discussion, including the absence of free debate and
exchange of ideas. These features do not appear to constitute the necessary
steps towards the restoration of democracy so as to respect the will of the
people as expressed in the democratic general elections held in 1990 and do
not conform to the rights to freedom of thought and expression in
accordance with international norms necessary for the exercise of political
rights, especially when a constitution is being formulated.

/* Endreport */