Toward Democracy, Human Rights and Federalism

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Burmese Will Rise Up

Thursday, May 22 2008, 04:38 PM EDT
Is outside humanitarian aid reaching the thousands of cyclone victims in Burma?

A lot of supplies are piling up, but the military picks the places where they want to send the aid. There is enough aid, but it’s just waiting because the regime doesn’t let the aid organizations enter.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Metro (www.metrobostonnews.com) International 07

For the record Sein Win, prime minister in exile of Myanmar

Premier in exile: the Burmese will rise up

Elisabeth Braw

INTERVIEW. Myanmar has a ruling military junta – and then there’s Sein Win, prime minister in exile. In 1990 Myanmar held democratic elections, but the junta ignored the opposition’s overwhelming victory. Democracy champion Aung San Suu Kyi was put under house arrest. So exiled politicians formed a coalition government, led by Sein Win. This soft-spoken former math professor, who is also Aung San Suu Kyi’s first cousin, has since been re-elected prime minister three times. He lives in exile in the United States.

Shortly after a cyclone struck Myanmar in the beginning of May, the secretive military regime held a referendum on a new constitution that excludes many opposition politicians from running for office. The junta claims that 92% of the population voted in favor of the constitution, but human rights organizations report that the voting was rigged.

Is outside humanitarian aid reaching the thousands of cyclone victims in Burma ?

A lot of supplies are piling up, but the military picks the places where they want to send the aid. There is enough aid, but it’s just waiting because the regime doesn’t let the aid organizations enter.

Has the U.N. put enough pressure on the leadership?

The U.N. is as strong as its member states. Strong countries like the United States , Great Britain , Germany , France and Italy should form a coalition to put pressure on the regime.

What can private citizens do to help the victims?

Beg your governments to put pressure on the Burmese government.

Have you heard from Aung San Suu Kyi?

Because she’s held incommunicado I don’t have any direct contact with her. I could go to Burma myself, but the regime wouldn’t let me leave again. They’d like to have Aung San Suu Kyi out of the country and me inside. As long as she’s there they are afraid.

What is your reaction to the constitutional referendum?

How can you have a real referendum when large parts of the country are under water? It’s very undemocratic. It excludes people who are married to foreigners from holding public office. This is clearly aimed at Aung San Suu Kyi. (Her late husband was the son of a British father and a Canadian mother.)

Last fall Myanmar had its Saffron Revolution. How long do you think the regime will stay in power?

We can’t say an exact time, of course, but the regime is near its end. Its behavior is a crime against humanity. But I know that the Burmese won’t stay quiet. They will rise up.

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