Monday, April 19, 2010

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2010 election lack of three basic democratic rules

Burma has many political and social obstacles to overcome on its path to democratization. Both the Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) and the Canadian Lawyer Council cited three basic democratic rules that the elections are lacking: independence of the judiciary, social rights, and freedom of expression.

U Min Lwin Oo says that legal challenges to a citizen’s right to vote are decided by the election commission instead of the courts. This is wrong. It is the sole responsibility of the judges and the courts to adjudicate over voting rights. The election commission, appointed by the government, cannot be just and impartial. Therefore, we announce that this 2010 election is an unacceptable solution. Min Lwin Oo continued that the main issues in Burma are a lack of social and human rights.

Relating to the current situation, Burmese citizens cannot vote freely. Most of the civil servants are members of the State Peace and Development Council or members of the Myanmar Woman Association. As they are members of these associations, they have to vote even if they don’t want to vote and their names are already included on the vote list. If they want to hold free and fair elections, political parties or individuals must have rights to expression, rights to campaign freely, rights to creating groups and they must have freedom of media. But all of these rights are lacking.

Political parties who do not follow the military regime’s opinion don’t have freedom of expression or freedom to campaign, according to the cases I have experienced. Therefore, if they want to hold elections, they should allow the media to be more free. Otherwise the 2010 election will not be a free and fair election.

According to the current cases that AHRC releases, there is a lack of fundamental democratic rules. In Mandaly division, Dr Wint Thu could be sentenced to between 5 and 55 years in prison because he is suspected of having contact with the groups of monks . The court takes action without evidence. This case has passed to the township judges, division judges and will pass to the Supreme Court. It shows that the judges cannot judge according to the law because there is no freedom of judgment.

The election that will be held by the government is lacking three fundamental democratic rules: independence of the judiciary, social rights and freedom of expression, concluded Min Lwin Oo.


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