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[Statement] HRN opposes the forceful carrying out of the election and the unfair exclusion of the pro-democracy movement as well as ethnic nationalities groups

In March 2010, the State Peace and Development Council (SPDC), the Myanmar military regime, announced five laws regarding the general election due to be held in the second half of 2010. These election laws, especially the Political Parties Registration Law, announced on March 8, mean de facto exclusion of organizations of the pro-democracy movement and ethnic nationalities from the 2010 general election. This law is irreconcilable to the election which should be held in a free and fair manner with participation of all groups.


According to the Political Parties Registration Law, political parties which participate in the election have to register at an election commission whose members are appointed by the military regime. Persons who are serving prison term and members of groups declared illegal unilaterally by the military regime, are not allowed to be political party members. (Article 10) Also, all political party members have to respect the 2008 constitution, enacted forcefully by the military regime without the consent of the pro-democracy movement. In the case of failure to meet those criteria, such parties will be abolished. Also, the law requires all already existing political parties to register again within 60 days from the enactment of the law and to disaffiliate others who are serving prison term, including persons accused of political crimes. 


These provisions unfairly force the pro-democracy movement including the National League for Democracy (NLD), the biggest opposition party, to choose either to split by expelling many political criminals including Aung San Suu Kyi, or not to participate in the election. On March 29, in response to the enactment of the Political Parties Registration Law, the NLD announced the boycott of the 2010 general election.


Also, according to the Political Parties Registration Law, organizations which the military regime designated as those launching armed rebellion against the Union of Bruma or committing terrorist acts are not permitted to register as political parties (Article 7 (e)). As a result, there is a high possibility that groups of ethnic nationalities, which have been suppressed by the military and have not agreed to a ceasefire, will be excluded from the election. The military regime has abused the 1908 law and declared organizations of the pro-democracy movement and of ethnic nationalities illegal. Therefore, these 'illegal' groups will be excluded from the election too.


Human Rights Now must say that the election which is not open for all pro-democratic organizations and ethnic nationalities groups, are rather exclusive and represent a regression in the process of democratization. The Pro-democracy movement and the ethnic nationalities are all the parties concerned to the Myanmar Union. An election without these groups will never lead to the national conciliation.


Human Rights Now calls for the Myanmar military regime to guarantee the participation of all pro-democratic groups and ethnic nationalities in the election and to reform the Political Parties Registration Law fundamentally, deleting provisions which ban the registration of groups whose members are serving prison term and other groups declared illegal including ethnic nationalities' groups.


Human Rights Now emphasizes, once again, the importance of the following demands of the pro-democracy movement concerning the condition of the election.

1.        To release all prisoners of conscience whose number is reported to amount to approximately 2,100 persons including Aung San Suu Kyi, a reasonable period before the elections and to guarantee participation and freedom of activities to the pro-democracy movement as well as to ethnic nationalities without fear of persecution (for the election.)

2.        To stop persecutions and attacks against ethnic nationalities.

3.        To enact election laws which guarantee free, fair and transparent elections with participation of all voters, prisoners of conscience and other stakeholders.

4.        To negotiate (over) the reform of the 2008 constitution with groups of the pro-democracy movement and the ethnic nationalities.


It is impossible for the people of Myanmar to join in the democratization process without the release of all prisoners of conscience, (and) the freedom of assembly, association and expression and a halt of armed attacks against ethnic nationalities. There is no guarantee of free election campaigns for all parties under the constitution which protects human rights only "within a rage of law". With the provisions of the constitution stipulating that one fourth of seats in the parliaments has to be occupied by those appointed by the military, there is a concern that the constitution enables the military to control Myanmar permanently.


Human Rights Now requests the international community to enhance diplomatic efforts for a democratic election through intense multinational cooperation beyond just words of condemnation. Human Rights Now especially requests Japan, a presidency holder of the UN Security Council at present, charged with primary responsibility to overcome the current situation, to demonstrate its initiative to ensure open conditions of the election for all parties concerned.