I got the following article from my subcriber, The Irrawaddy new! The Author points out the Burmese bulldog's history very updated one. Good to read and learn the Burmese Junta history you all!
SCONTRIBUTOR Critical Need for New Initiatives in Burma
By KJELL MAGNE BONDEVIK
Thursday, May 29, 2008, -->
The people of Burma are now victims of both a humanitarian and a political tragedy. It is nothing less than grotesque how the military government has, for such a long time, obstructed relief to the suffering population.
The main focus must of course be the humanitarian assistance to the victims of the cyclone. However, recent incidents have revealed the need for new political initiatives in order to put a more coherent and efficient pressure on the military rulers of the country.
Kjell Magne BondevikThe UN secretary-general should now take the initiative for a high-level roundtable conference on Burma with the most important actors.
The military junta in Burma has once again shown its true face by the brutal handling of its own people. Thousands of people were struck by a natural catastrophe, but the regime refused the rest of the world the right to bring relief to the victims. At the same time, the junta carried out its planned referendum on a new constitution for the country, albeit with a certain deferment in some of the hardest hit areas. And we still remember how the junta last year cracked down mercilessly on peaceful monks demonstrating for freedom.
The house arrest of the leader of the National League of Democracy, Aung San Suu Kyi, has recently been extended, in violation of the country’s own laws, which forbid sentencing anyone to more than five consecutive years’ house arrest.
Faced with this kind of inhumane behaviour, the international community feels powerless. Ever since the military refused to cede power to the winner of the 1990 election, the National League of Democracy, the international community has reacted in very different ways. In the UN and other international organs, resolutions have been adopted demanding democracy and respect for human rights. Western countries have introduced various sanctions, while Asian countries believe in a policy of “constructive engagement.” The UN Security Council has remained hamstrung and weak in this situation. Nothing has worked as intended. Or could it be the differing strategies themselves that cause the failure, because the junta can play on the dissension? Could the hesitant opening for international relief personnel over the last few days represent something new? only time will tell if there will be any lasting effect.
In a situation like this there is a need for new initiatives. We cannot give up the struggle for freedom, democracy and human rights for the Burmese people.
The central actors must come together and discuss a more coherent strategy for a Burma policy. The UN secretary-general should take the initiative. China and India are key countries: both have considerable economic cooperation with Burma and can therefore wield influence. Asean has Burma as a member and is therefore centrally placed. In the West, the EU and the US are, of course, the most influential players.
Sanctions, “constructive engagement” and other means must be debated freely and without prejudice, in the hope of agreeing a more coherent strategy. In doing so, contact should be maintained with the relevant stakeholders, as it is important that the policy be conducted in understanding with those most concerned.
Who will take the initiative for a new, coherent and hopefully more efficient Burma policy? The challenge goes out to the UN secretary-general. The letter has been mailed.
The author is former Norwegian prime minister and current president of the OsloCentre for Peace and Human Rights. He contributed this article exclusively to The Irrawaddy.