Wed 21 Dec 2005
Filed under: ASEAN,News
Bangkok: Five rights groups, including Amnesty International, called on the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Wednesday to apply more pressure on Myanmar (Burma) to free political prisoners and become more democratic.
Fewer than 10 representatives from the non-governmental organizations protested Wednesday in front of the Myanmar embassy in Bangkok while about 50 police looked on.
Nassir Achwarin, with Thai Action for Democracy in Burma, said ASEAN took an encouraging step at their annual meeting in Kuala Lumpur earlier this month by arranging to send a representative to Yangon (Rangoon) to assess the political situation there.
But, he added Myanmar’s ruling State of Peace and Development Council
(SPDC) government has taken no positive initiatives toward eliminating human rights violations and opening the country to democracy and ASEAN needs to do more.
ASEAN met mid-November and called on Myanmar to “expedite” its politcal reform and free political prisoners. The group also comprises Thailand, Indonesia, Vietnam, Malaysia, Cambodia and Singapore, Brunei, Laos, and the Philippines.
Achwarin said it’s important the people of ASEAN states to keep the pressure on their governments to move Myanmar toward democracy.
Also represented at the protest were the Asian Institute for Human rights, Human Rights Defenders of Thailand, and the Cross Cultural Foundation.