Thursday, August 13, 2009

Editorial: Shame on you ASEAN

World leaders and human rights groups could only spew condemnation and anger in the direction of the chief of Myanmar’s junta, Senior Gen. Than Shwe, for his continuous, merciless and brutal treatment of Aung San Suu Kyi, the county’s incarcerated democracy leader. Than Shwe’s latest act of injustice came Tuesday, when he extended the Nobel Peace Prize laureate’s house arrest by 18 months for allowing an uninvited American to stay in her home for two nights in May. One Myanmarese general rendered the rest of the world’s will irrelevant for no good reason.

Than Shwe and his cadres fully know that no one will ever be able to punish them, not even the world’s most powerful man, US President Barack Obama, because the leaders of the other nine members of ASEAN – Indonesia, the Philippines, Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, Brunei, Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia – are staunch opponents of any efforts to punish Myanmar’s heartless rulers.

President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, the President of the world’s third largest democracy, is a strong believer that persuasion and constructive engagement is the only way to lure Than Shwe into “repenting”. This absurd belief is shared by the leaders of other ASEAN member states.

Shame on ASEAN leaders, especially those of democratic nations, who continue to tolerate the gross human rights abuses being committed in Myanmar. ASEAN leaders often cite fears that Myanmar would fall under the influence of China, or India, as an excuse for their inaction against Myanmar, while at the same time openly admitting the junta and its generals do not deserve any supports because of their unspeakable brutality.

As China and India close their eyes and pretend not to know what is going on in Myanmar, for economic and geopolitical reasons, we say shame on you too.
We urge ASEAN leaders, although we know very well that they have no guts to do it, to suspend Myanmar’s membership to the regional grouping until the nation’s generals surrender power to the country’s supreme rulers: the people.
Morally, who is guiltier: Myanmar’s generals, or those who continue to back them?
The Jakarta Post

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