Myanmar roadmap has failed so far: UN envoy

Associated Press

Bangkok, June 1:

The Myanmar junta’s roadmap to democracy has failed so far in its objectives, and risks becoming a meaningless exercise unless the pro-democracy opposition is given a role, a UN human rights envoy said today. Paolo Sergio Pinheiro said Myanmar’s military government had broken promises to make a constitutional convention it convened last month open and inclusive, and failed to allow basic political freedoms. “I am convinced the National Convention lacks for the time being... any national or international credibility,” he said in Bangkok, while holding out hope it could still be set right.

Rather than helping to reduce tensions and promoting national reconciliation, he said, the convention “will serve only to create further tension within the country and continued international isolation.” Myanmar Prime Minister Gen Khin Nyunt last year announced a seven-point plan supposed to eventually lead to new elections. Holding a convention to draft a new constitution was the first point, and establishment of a “favourable environment” for political transition the second.

“I am very worried the first two steps until now have failed,” Pinheiro said. Pinheiro said UN had two main concerns about the National Convention: that almost all its delegates were hand-picked by the government, and that Myanmar law barred any debate of its work.

“The etiquette of political transition requires the writing of a constitution cannot take place with the main leader of one of the parties in house arrest, political prisoners, and the nonexistence of any hint of any basic freedom,” Pinheiro said. If the conditions under which the convention was being held were not changed, it risked becoming “a meaningless and undemocratic exercise.” However, he hoped there was still room for negotiations. “I want to believe that the door has not been shut yet.”

5 NLD cadres freed

YANGON: The junta has released five opposition party members who were arrested along with Suu Kyi last year, an opposition spokesman said on Tuesday. But he said 13 others remain in custody.The five prisoners, including one woman, were released on Friday, said U Lwin, the spokesman of Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy party. They were serving jail terms of two to three years, he said. — AP