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PRESS RELEASES, OPEN LETTERS, STATEMENTS

For Immediate Release: 30 October 2009

BURMA’S 2010 ELECTIONS WILL BRING MORE PROBLEMS TO REGION, SAYS HUMAN RIGHTS GROUP

Bangkok, 30 Oct. - The Burmese junta’s proposed 2010 elections, the first step in activating the 2008 constitution, will have disastrous impacts on Burma and the region.

In a briefer titled “2010 Elections: A Recipe for Continued Conflict”, regional human rights network Altsean-Burma states that the regime’s preparations for 2010 have already had serious human security impacts on the region - increased crimes against humanity and escalated armed conflict caused 43,800 refugees to cross over into China and Thailand within the past three months alone.

The 11-page briefer reveals serious concerns over the possible conduct of the 2010 elections that is likely to disenfranchise an estimated 1.9 million voters. It also outlines the serious flaws in the 2008 constitution that will intensify the root causes of conflict that has plagued Burma.

“In the past few months, Burma's State Peace and Development Council (SPDC) has systematically dashed every hope for political space through locking up viable opposition candidates, using violence against ethnic nationalities and inflicting its usual strong-arm tactics on the population. While the elections are expected to be a farce, the greatest tragedy for Burma will be the constitution itself,” said Altsean-Burma Coordinator Debbie Stothard. The regime's oppressive constitution will come into effect when 'elected' MPs convene the Parliament.

“The constitution grants the military immunity from prosecution and freedom from public accountability. It also cements military control over future constitutional amendments, rendering any electoral process useless, no matter how free or fair it is. Worse still, the constitution legitimizes military subjugation of ethnic nationality communities,” she explained.

The briefer proposes solutions to turn the situation around and presents indicators to assess progress. It asserts that immediate steps forward must be centered on changes to allow constitutional amendments by a majority of civilian legislators and ensuring that all people of Burma, including political prisoners, can participate as voters and candidates.

“2010 Elections: A Recipe for Continued Conflict” is available in both PDF and Word format at http://www.altsean.org/Reports/2010Electionsbis.php

ENDS

Enquiries: Debbie Stothard, Cellphone +668 1686 1652