Tue 31 Oct 2006
Filed under: Inside Burma,News
Yangon: Military-ruled Myanmar will launch a national conscription service to create militias around the country, according to a section of the new constitution published Tuesday in state media.
The junta earlier this month reconvened its National Convention, where 1,075 handpicked delegates are working on a new basic law in secret talks at a military base outside Yangon.
The official New Light of Myanmar said Tuesday the delegates had agreed to the conscription, but made no mention of what age the cut-off for the draft would be.
“Every citizen is under a duty to undergo military training in accord with the provisions of the law and to serve in the armed forces to defend the state,” it said.
The paper also said the new constitution would establish “people’s militias” around the country, under military leadership.
Myanmar has been ruled by military since 1962. The constitution was suspended in 1988 when the military crushed a pro-democracy uprising.
The junta bills the constitutional talks as the first of seven steps on a “road map” toward democracy.
But the on-again, off-again talks — now a decade old — have been condemned internationally for failing to include the nation’s leading opposition party, Aung San Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy (NLD).
The NLD, which won a landslide election victory in 1990 but has never been allowed to take office, is boycotting the talks in protest at her continued house arrest.