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NLD: Letter of Instruction (24/3/97
- Subject: NLD: Letter of Instruction (24/3/97
- From: burma@xxxxxxxxxx
- Date: Thu, 08 May 1997 18:46:00
Subject: NLD: Letter of Instruction (24/3/97)
[THE FOLLOWING IS TRANSLATED FROM NLD TRANSCRIPTS WRITTEN IN BURMESE.
THe LETTER OF INSTRUCTION SIGNED BY U AUNG SHWE, CHAIRMAN OF THE NLD,
WAS ISSUED ON 24 FEBRUARY 1997 TO ALL THE NLD ORGANISING COMMITTEES IN
TOWNSHIPS AND STATES/DIVISIONS. OTHER TWO LETTERS AND A LIST OF
SIGNBOARDS REMOVED BY THE AUTHORITIES ARE ATTACHED TO THE FIRST LETTER.]
NATIONAL LEAGUE FOR DEMOCRACY
No: (97/B), West Shwegon Dine, Bahan Township, Rangoon
Letter No: 125/Org(Organising)/97
All the NLD Organising Committee in townships and States/Divisions
Subject: Harsh restrictions imposed on the legally registered National
League for Democracy
1. As all of you are aware, harsh restrictions imposed on NLD by the
authorities has been taking place throughout the country. For example,
members of the NLD were subjected to arrest, deterred from freedom of
movement, NLD?s signboards were removed and organisations were abolished
with the reason that they failed to comply with 26/4/91 [Announcement].
2. We are sending you the attached letters to make sure you are able to
discuss with the authorities accordingly in case such accidents occur to
3. Attached letters are
(a) Letter No: 085/Org(Election)/96 dated 7/5/96
(b) Letter No: 016/Org(Election)/97 dated 11/2/97
(c) Letter No: 022/Org(SLORC)/97 dated 20/2/97
National League for Democracy
Copy: 1. Central Departments of the NLD
2. Central Working groups of the NLD
3. Office Copy
LEAGUE FOR DEMOCRACY
No: (97/B), West Shwegon Dine, Bahan Township, Rangoon
Letter No: 022/Org(SLORC)/97
Senior General Than Shwe
State Law and Order Restoration Council
Union of Burma
U Ba Htay
Multi-Party Democracy General Election Commission
Subject: Oppression on the National League for Democracy
1. The National League for Democracy is a legitimate political party
which is duly registered with the Multi-Party Democracy General Election
Commission in accordance with the Registration Law for the Political
Parties and is formed legally.
2. According to Section 2 (a), Chapter 1, of the Registration Law for
the Political Parties,
(a) It is evident that the National League for Democracy is exercising
genuine multi-party democracy in accordance with its Constitution
(Provisional) and Policy (Draft) which were forwarded to the Election
Commission since 1988.
(b) NLD is the political party which contested and won 392 places out
of 485 seats in the parliament when multi-party democracy general
elections was held on 27/2/90 in accordance with Section 2 (b).
3. Aforementioned evidences clearly proved that the National League for
Democracy is not a political party which is going against any regulation
set in the Registration Law for the Political Parties.
4. Moreover, the National League for Democracy was duly allowed to
register because it was not entangled with the regulation promulgated in
Section 3, Chapter 2 of Registration Law for the Political Parties.
Flags, signboards, offices and buildings of a political party are the
symbols of the organisation concerned. If the authorities destroy or
violate these symbols, it means that the legitimate activities of a
legally-existing political organisation is destroyed or violated.
5. The instruction given since 26/4/91 regarding activities which are
not to be performed by the political parties is not totally in line with
Registration Law for the Political Parties.
6. Such acts prove that law-makers turn themselves into law-breakers.
It is contradictory to all the laws. It is also an unlawful act. The
NLD will not tolerate such acts. Therefore, I would like to suggest to
immediately stop lowering the flags, removing signboards and uprooting
the offices of the NLD.
National League for Democracy
Copy: 1) Organising Committees (State/Division)
2) Township Organisation Committees
Note: If the authorities are going to commit such acts, I ask you to
show them this letter.
LEAGUE FOR DEMOCRACY
No. 97/B West Shwegon Dine, Bahan Township, Rangoon
Letter No. 016/Org(Election)/97
U Ba Htay
Multi-Party Democracy General Election Commission
Union of Burma
Subject: Various Restrictions Imposed on the Legally-Existing National
League for Democracy by the Authorities
1. The National League for Democracy exists to this day as a legitimate
political party ever since its formal registration in accordance with
the regulations as set out
in Law No. 4/88 of the State Law and Order Restoration Council when it
was legally allowed to register with the Multi-Party Democracy General
2. (a) Regarding political parties and organisations, NLD?s Chairman and
General Secretary were both summoned by the Election Commission at 13:00
hr on 10/12/91 and were told the following:
(i) ?The Multi-Party Democracy General Election Commission was assigned
duties with full powers to administer and handle all the issues
concerning political parties by the State Law and Order Restoration
Council.? The Chairman of the Commission said that he was speaking on
behalf of the Commission as a whole.
(b) Regarding this statement above, we understand that neither the State
Law and Order Restoration Council nor the Multi-Party Democracy General
Election Commission have issued any official statement which gives more
power than the regulations as set out in Law No. 4/88. Therefore, any
unlawful expression made by the Commission is not acceptable to the
National League for Democracy. Only regulations set out in the Law will
be respected and abided by the [NLD].
3. Moreover, we refer you again to the written statement of the National
League for Democracy on page 2 of the minutes of the meeting which was
sent to the Commission for its own record along with Letter No.
157/Org(Election)/96, dated 21/10/96. The statement reads as follows:
At the office of the Election Commission, the Chairman and two other NLD
members held discussions with some members of the Commission on 9
October 1996 from 14:00 hr to 15:00 hr.
?Saya Che: Our Election Commission will have to supervise political
parties. We will do it honestly and promptly. We don?t want our images
to be tainted.?
?U Aung Shwe: In Burma, as our NLD is the only political party which has
to perform activities in accordance with the result of the Election, we
don?t want our reputations tarnished. There were announcements from the
Commissions since it was formed. Members [of the Commission] earn
reputation (dignity) because they are working with no ambition as they
are growing old. We have dignity as the NLD registered with a group
[Commission] composed of such dignified persons.
4. Therefore, the National League for Democracy is determined to believe
that Multi-Party Democracy General Election Commission will have to
handle all the issues related to the political parties rightfully.
5. The National League for Democracy sent Letter No.
085/Org(Election)/96 dated 7/5/96 to Multi-Party Democracy General
Election Commission with the subject ?Restrictions Imposed on the
Legally-Existing National League for Democracy?. Although some eight
months has passed, we haven?t received any response to date. We have to
say that the letter has been ignored. It should not be treated like
this. It is not the matter to be allowed to happen by any mean.
6. The National League for Democracy solemnly urge the Multi-Party
Democracy General Election Commission to seriously analyse the issues
expressed in paragraph 5, sub-paragraph (a) (i) and (ii), sub-paragraph
(b), sub-paragraph (c) (i), (ii) and (iii) and sub-paragraph (g) of that
7. At present, signboards of branch offices of the National League for
Democracy were forcibly removed by authorities and a number members of
the NLD are subjected to restriction, arrest, detention, suing at court
and punishment under numerous allegations which will not be enough to
express on a piece of paper. Regarding removal of signboards, a list
based on the reports to the NLD (Central Body) received to date is
attached as an appendix.
8. (a) Concerning signboard issue, the Chairman and General Secretary of
the National League for Democracy met with members of the Multi-Party
Democracy General Election Commission in January 1989 and agreed as
(i) Signboard can be put up in townships and States/Divisions
(ii) Signboards put up at Wards/Villages before January 1989 can be
(iii) Signboards can be put up at Wards/Villages after informing the
authorities ` concerned.
(b) As the above-mentioned issue on removal of signboards is
contradictory to this agreement, the Commission needs to take prompt
action in order to put up all the signboards which have been removed
throughout the country. We urge you to implement it immediately.
(c) Moreover, we want the Commission to precisely instruct the
authorities concerned at all levels not to remove signboards of NLD
since an agreement was reached between the Commission and the NLD.
Authorities mean members of Law and Order Restoration Council, members
of the Election Commission and personnel from Military Intelligence
Service at all levels.
9. On 28/8/91, Multi-Party Democracy General Election Commission
retroactively informed the political parties that leading figures at all
levels of political parties shall be remained as it was on 26/4/91 and
shall not be expanded. Another restriction which states that
organisation with less than five executive members shall be ceased from
existing was further introduced. There were evidences of punishment from
the central body down to Ward/Village sectors with less than five
executive members by abolishing with ultimatum without informing the
National League for Democracy (Headquarters). We take into account that
such an arbitrary is utilised because legally-formed NLD is not to be
abolished under the regulations set in Section 3, Chapter 2 of
Registration Law for Political Parties.
10. Especially, the authorities concerned in Irrawaddy are committing
extrajudicial acts by giving oral orders. When members of the NLD asked
the authorities for written order/instruction/statement officially, they
were not only disregarded but also sued at courts as a punishment under
allegation that they failed to abide by the law or they attempted to
obstruct the duty performed by civil servants. With regard to this
issue, the NLD sent Letter No. 014/Org(SLORC)/97 dated 6/2/97 to the
State Law and Order Restoration Council. A copy of that letter is
11. The authority to impose such restrictions is not set out in Law No.
4/88 of the State Law and Order Restoration Council (the ?Registration
Law for Political Parties?) nor is it set out in Law No. 1/88 on the
?Election Commission for Holding Democratic Multi-Party General
Elections?. Any announcements, orders, instructions, notices which are
issued beyond what is authorised according to the Law are illegal as
they cannot be regarded as legitimate orders.
12. As it was stated in the introduction to Law No. 1/88 or ?Law on the
Election Commission for Holding Democratic Multi-Party General
Elections?: ?The State Law and Order Restoration Council hereby
prescribes the following Law, in order to guarantee the successful
holding of Democratic Multi-Party General Election in the Union of
Burma?. The same statement that ?The State Law and Order Restoration
Council hereby prescribes the following Law, in order to guarantee the
successful holding of Democratic Multi-Party General Election in the
Union of Burma? is also in the introduction to Law No. 4/88 or
?Registration Law for Political Parties?; the Law which states that
numbers of [any Political Party] shall remain as they were on 26/4/91,
and which was made by the Commission is beyond its authority and has
nothing to do with having to hold the election successfully. The reason
is that such restrictions were imposed more than a year after the
election was held. Such an attitude is nothing more to intentionally
impose restrictions. We have to say it would insincere. Moreover, as the
State Law and Order Restoration Council said it would build Burma into a
genuine multi-party democracy, there must be political parties [as in a
democratic society]. If there is no political party which can organise
or launch campaigns, we cannot call such a country a democratic country.
13. You should especially note this fact: ?A political association mean
any association which launches political activities one way or the other
based on any kind of political belief?, stated in Section 2 (b) of ?Law
on the Formation of Associations? or Law No. 6/88 of the State Law and
Order Restoration Council.
The right to launch political activities one way or the other based on
any kind of political belief is a right provided by the Law. In order to
launch organising activities in accordance with the regulations, the
National League for Democracy officially forwarded its Constitution
(Provisional) and Policy (Draft) to the Multi-Party Democracy General
Election Commission. This fact shall be compared and analysed with
Announcement No. 245 of the Multi-Party Democracy General Election
Commission dated, 22/3/89.
14. You should also respect this fact: ?A political party mean any party
which exercises genuine democracy?, stated in Section 2 (b) of the
?Registration Law for Political Parties? or Law No. 4/88 of the State
Law and Order Restoration Council. In an organisation that exercises
genuine multi-party democracy, that organisation has the right to freely
organise its members, assign them duties, discharge them from duties,
systematically establish its branches and launch organising activities.
We have the right to do so in accordance with the Law.
15. (a) Moreover, on 13/2/92, the State Law and Order Restoration
Council issued Order 5/92 which was to authorise the ?Abolition of Any
Political Party which Cannot Systematically Organise its Branches or
Even Send a list of its Members?. In that Order, with the recommendation
of the Multi-Party Democracy General Election Commission, six political
parties were abolished after finding that they should not be allowed to
exist as they failed to systematically organise their branches and to
send a list of their members.
(b) On 10/3/92, the State Law and Order Restoration Council issued Order
7/92 which authorised the abolition of some political parties. In that
order, with the recommendation of the Multi-Party Democracy General
Election Commission, nine political parties were abolished after finding
that they should not be allowed to exist according to the Order which
states that ?some political parties, after some of their representatives
were elected, failed to perform their own parties? organising activities
because they seems to believe that their existence depends on their
elected representatives alone.
(c) Regarding the abolition of political parties, besides what is
expressed in Section 6, Chapter 3 of the Registration Law for Political
Parties, prior to the election, any registered political party would be
abolished if it was founded to be an organisation as stated in
Subsection a, b, c, d or e of Section 3. As there is no right to abolish
for any other reason, such acts are illegal.
(d) It is evident from these orders that political parties are able to
carry out organising activities, form branches systematically and keep a
record of their members.
(e) Although the National League for Democracy has been carrying out its
duties in accordance with the rights allowed by the Law, the authorities
concerned have imposed restrictions and have forcibly abolished branch
offices of the NLD. Such acts are not only totally illegal but also
16. According to the above-mentioned laws, regulations, announcements
and oral statements, the National League for Democracy, as a political
party, has the right to freely review, restructure, fill out or organise
its executives at all levels at any time in accordance with the internal
regulations of the party. The notification letter dated 28/8/91 is
absolutely contradictory to the Multi-Party Democracy General Election
Commission Law and Registration Law for Political Parties of the State
Law and Order Restoration Council.
17. According to the rules and regulations as set out within all
political parties, they all have the right to restructure their
executives, from the Central Body level right down to the Ward/Village
level, to accept new membership and to form any necessary organisation
which is beneficial to the party. According to human nature, there will
be ebbs and flows. We have to review this situation and fix it. If we
are not able to do so, we will be plunged into the point of no return.
Imposing restrictions to not review nor fix them within the party has no
other reason than let it be plunged into the point of no return. It
should be noted that the National League for Democracy is a political
party which registered in accordance with the laws and which won an
absolute majority of members of the parliament in an official election.
18. The National League for Democracy?s official activities have not
only been restricted, but its Members of Parliament have also been
forced to resign for a number of reasons under various allegations.
According to Law No. 14/89 of the State Law and Order Restoration
Council dated 31 May 1989, SLORC constituted the Hluttaw Election Law in
order to hold Multi-Party Democracy General Elections successfully.
According to Section 3, Chapter 2 of that Law, ?the Hluttaw shall be
formed with representatives elected from different constituencies in
accordance with this Law?. Forcing people?s representatives who were
elected by the authority of the people to resign by various means rather
than by convening the People?s Hluttaw in accordance with this Law is
like violating its own law.
19. Moreover, despite the clear announcement in paragraph 12 of
Announcement 1/90 of the State Law and Order Restoration Council dated
27 July 1990 that ?:...the State Law and Order Restoration Council will
carry out the convening of Hluttaw? in accordance with above-mentioned
Law, it is irrelevant poignant that the pledges made in accordance with
Hluttaw Election Law and Announcement 1/90 have not come to exist until
20. Only the wording ?Pyithu Hluttaw? (People?s Assembly) is mentioned
in the Laws set out by the SLORC. It is evident that ?Constituent
Assembly? is never mentioned. ?Pyithu Hluttaw?, a body formed by elected
people?s representatives, is responsible for drafting the laws
beneficial to the country and managing all matters necessary for the
development of the country. Because the sole responsibility of the
?Constituent Assembly? is to draft a much-needed Constitution for the
country, it is below the ?Pyithu Hluttaw?. It is a violation of the law
to respond as the ?Constituent Assembly? after the wording ?Pyithu
Hluttaw? is what is constituted into the Law.
21. The National League for Democracy abides by the laws and orders set
out by the State Law and Order Restoration. It contested in the election
in accordance with the rules and regulations set out by the Multi-Party
Democracy General Election Commission. In the 485 constituencies where
elections were held, the NLD won more than 80% of the seats. This shows
the manner and extent by which the NLD has earned the support of the
people. And it is an unprecedented support. Although almost seven years
have passed since the election was held on 27 May 1990, it is insulting
to learn that neither has the People?s Assembly been formed nor has a
report of the Multi-Party Democracy General Election been made public.
22. This failure by the authorities to fulfil their pledges or to even
issue an election report as is required in the interim is a violation of
Article 21 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights of the United
Nations to which Burma is a signatory country. In this light, we would
like to emphasise that Burma has an obligation to abide by the
regulations required of all member countries of the United Nations.
23. Although it was announced that the Multi-Party General Election was
a free and fair election, no election report has come out nor has a
Pyithu Hluttaw been convened. Instead, Members of Parliament from the
election-winning party, the National League for Democracy, have been
treated as enemies who violate the laws and have been forced to resign
for various reasons by the authorities. We are not allowed to hold
discussions with the people who voted for us. The principle of
sovereignty which descends from the people is absolutely violated.
24. The issue of the resignations by Members of the Parliament can only
be implemented after a Pyithu Hluttaw has emerged and the issue has been
submitted to the Chairman of the Hluttaw and the Hluttaw has decided on
the issue. As the Multi-Party Democracy General Election Commission is
not a Pyithu Hluttaw, the position of the National League for Democracy
is that the Commission cannot issue any announcements on the resignation
of Members of Parliament who have been elected by the people in a free
and fair election without any decisions made by Hluttaw. Announcements
made by the Multi-Party Democracy General Election Commission which
permit Members of Parliament to resign from their elected position is
illegal as the Members of Parliament involved have been forced to sign
their resignation letters due to threats and restrictions imposed by the
authorities. To have to put on paper the degree and the extent of the
various restrictions used by the authorities would be too much. All are
arbitrary and outrageous acts.
25. To summarise, the history of Burma has been disgracefully corrupted,
especially with regard to the 1990 election. The authorities concerned
should consider this. It is scandalous to observe that the Members of
Parliament concerned are treated by the authorities as worse than
enemies because they are not only being forced to resign under duress
but their families and relatives have also been subjected to threats.
Moreover, some Members of Parliament were handcuffed as if they were
criminals on the eight founding anniversary day of the NLD in September
1996. It is outrageous to note that Members of Parliament from other
political parties are not subjected to this kind of harassment and
punishment, nor have they been forced to resign like Members of
Parliament from the NLD. It is evident that there is no justice.
26. The NLD believes that the Multi-Party Democracy General Election
Commission has the reputation and the standing to be specifically
responsible for solving all the above-mentioned issues. Therefore, in
accordance with the principle that the law and justice should coexist, I
specifically urge you to immediately solve all the issues mentioned in
this letter as well as the issues mentioned in Letter No.
085/Org(Election)/96 dated 7/5/96 and Letter No. 014/Org(SLORC)/97 dated
National League for Democracy
A list of signboards of the National League for Democracy (NLD) removed
at Villages/Wards, Townships and States/Divisions, based on reports to
the NLD (Central Body) from Townships and States/Divisions as of today
Kachin State: State signboard, all signboards in all township and
villages/wards were removed by the authorities
Kayah State: As in Kachin State
Kayin State: all signboards in all township and villages/wards, except
State signboard, were removed by the authorities
Irrawaddy Division: Signboards in Maubin township, Nyaungdone township,
Ah Phyauk township, Ngathaichaung township, Phyapon township and
Ingapu township were stolen by deceitful persons.
Signboards in Shwe Laung village, Chaung Wa village, Pyin Kha Yai
village and Upper Pyun village in Ngaputaw township, Pha Ye village,
Khon Gyi village, Yay The Kyin village and Seit Tha Pauk Tai village in
Kyankin Township, Kan Ywa village and Dah Ka village East Bassein
township, Kywe Don village and Kywe Kat village in Maubin township, Kan
Kyat village Phyapon township and Ka Don Ka Ni village Bogale township
Shan State: Signboard of Mong Meik township
Sagaing Division: Signboards in Pale township, Hkamti township, Tamu
township, Minkin township and Wetlet township
Rangoon Division: Signboards in Twnte township, Yankin township,
Dawpon township, Thingangyun township, Kamayut township,
Botataung township, Kyemmedaing township, Pabedan township, Dagon
township, Seikkyi/Kha Naung To township
Tenasserim Division: Signboard of Mergui township