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Myanmar still not ready to deliver credible elections

A UN human rights expert asked Myanmar,s military regime allow for credible elections and free all "prisoners of conscience", including Nobel Laureate Daw Aung San Suu Kyi to enable them to be a part of elections.



United Nations: A UN human rights expert
asked Myanmar,s military regime allow for credible elections
and free all "prisoners of conscience", including Nobel
Laureate Daw Aung San Suu Kyi to enable them to be a part of
elections that are being held after almost two decades.

"Now is the time that the Government could show its
sincerity in achieving peace and progress for the people of
Myanmar by freeing all prisoners of conscience, including Daw
Aung San Suu Kyi, to take part in these momentous elections,"
said Tom`s Ojea Quintana, UN special envoy on human rights in
Myanmar.

"Now is the time that the Government could show its
sincerity in achieving peace and progress for the people of
Myanmar by freeing all prisoners of conscience, including Daw
Aung San Suu Kyi, to take part in these momentous elections,"
said Tom?s Ojea Quintana, UN special envoy on human rights in
Myanmar.
"Such a release of prisoners of conscience would allow
political parties that have decided against participation to
reconsider, and would facilitate the active participation of
all citizens in this landmark process," he added.

The date for the first election in yet to be announced.
In March, however, the government issued election laws,
which were slammed by the UN for being inadequate.

At the time, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon noted that the
"published electoral laws" and "overall electoral environment"
did not "measure up to what is needed for an inclusive
political process."

A new election law bars any person convicted of a crime
from being a member of a political party.
Since pro-democracy icon, Aung San Suu Kyi was found
guilty of breaching the terms of her already existing house
arrest in August, this law effectively ends her chances of
running in the first elections in 20 years scheduled for 2010.

Suu Kyi, 64, has been under detention for most of past
two past decades. She is the leader of opposition National
League for Democracy, which won national elections in 1990.

Last year, Suu Kyi was sentenced to 18 months of house
detention for violating terms of her detention after an
uninvited American swam ashore to her house where she was
already being held. Her lawyer appealed against the decision
in November, which has been turned down.

The human rights expert pointed out that despite flawed
laws, the situation could be salvaged to deliver fair
elections. Quintana said Electoral Commission could impede the
activities of political parties.

"It is possible that such practices could be mitigated if
the Government made guarantees to allow full freedom of
expression and assembly," he said.
Quintana also highlighted disturbing reports of
increasing tension between Myanmar`s military forces and
ceasefire groups and said national reconciliation must include
all the people of Myanmar.

PTI

From Zee News

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