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PRESS RELEASES, OPEN LETTERS, STATEMENTS

For Immediate Release: 18 November 2007

BURMA - TIME FOR ASEAN TO BITE THE BULLET AND BACK GENUINE SOLUTIONS

Regional human rights group Alternative ASEAN Network on Burma (Altsean-Burma) today urged ASEAN to complement and strengthen UN efforts on Burma by committing its influence and leverage to secure genuine reforms.

In a briefer titled "Burma: Time for ASEAN to Bite the Bullet" released today ahead of the ASEAN Summit in Singapore, Altsean-Burma urged ASEAN and its dialogue partners to throw their weight behind a genuine reform process that is based on tripartite cooperation between the military regime, the National League for Democracy, and ethnic groups.

Such a process, outlined in the NLD’s February 2006 proposal for a power-sharing transition, would provide durable solutions for Burma’s troubles which have also affected the region. For years, the Burmese junta has staved off international pressure by claiming that it is implementing a roadmap to democracy.

"ASEAN should not allow the junta to use its roadmap as a smokescreen and justification to wreak havoc. It is time ASEAN woke up to the truth that the junta’s irresponsible actions are the greatest threat to Burma’s integrity and stability," said Altsean-Burma Coordinator Debbie Stothard.

The Burmese regime’s unilateral and illegitimate roadmap has only resulted in disaster for the people of Burma. More people are dying as a result of military attacks by the regime. In the past year 76,000 people were displaced. 25,000 men, women and children face imminent starvation because SPDC Army troops are land-mining rice-fields in Eastern Burma.

Meanwhile, economic mismanagement and rampant corruption have worsened. The sudden increase of fuel prices by up to 500% in August has driven a possible 50% of the population below the poverty line.

"Anyone who really cares about Burma will realize that the worsening suffering of men, women and children there happened even when foreign investment increased by over 2,000%. Giving more money to the regime only gives them more resources to inflict death and misery.

"Foolishly sticking to the status quo on Burma will hurt the country and the region. Anyone who thinks the Burmese regime can solve problems by excluding Burma’s other key stakeholders probably believes in the tooth fairy," concluded Ms Stothard.


The briefer is available as PDF or Word document at http://www.altsean.org

ENDS

Enquiries: Debbie Stothard, Cellphone +6681 686 1652