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Calling for Genuine Political Reconciliation Before Elections in Burma

December 10, 2009

We, the united voice of people, communities, and organizations from Burma and around the
globe, strongly reaffirm the necessity for genuine political reconciliation before the 2010 elections
and call on the international community to take immediate action to ensure viable democratic
change occurs in Burma. The people of Burma are entitled to have a genuine choice and the
international community has an obligation to ensure that the people get this choice.

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights (Article 21) states, “The will of the people shall be the basis
of the authority of government”; however, the military regime in Burma continues to use coercive
measures to hold onto power. Activists, community leaders, journalists, and monks continue to be arrested
and harassed for voicing independent thought. Villages continue to be subjected to crimes against
humanity under the regime’s brutal policy of controlling ethnic communities. The regime continues to
manipulate the political sphere in order to secure their victory in the 2010 elections – based on the 2008
Constitution that was crafted by the military regime in order to perpetuate impunity and prolong their hold
on power. Inclusive solutions proposed by democracy and ethnic leaders have been discarded with severe
persecution. Once again, the regime is poised to repeat its systematic use of force, manipulation, and
corruption during the 2008 constitutional referendum.

We call on the international community to insist that the regime meets crucial benchmarks in
order to bring peace and stability to Burma before the elections, i.e.:

1. Release all political prisoners, including Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, Khun Htun Oo, and Min
Ko Naing.
2. National Reconciliation: Inclusive dialogue with key stakeholders from democracy groups
and ethnic nationalities, including a comprehensive review of the 2008 Constitution.
3. Cessation of systematic human rights abuses and criminal hostilities against ethnic
groups, political activists, journalists, and civil society.

If the election is allowed to go ahead without these changes, then it will only serve to institutionalize one-
party rule, with military still holding the strings of power. Even in the unlikely event that the elections are
free and fair, they will not bring any real change to Burma because the fundamentally flawed Constitution
that allocates vast powers to military, lacks any checks and balances, allows for the ongoing discrimination
and persecution of ethnic nationalities, gender discrimination, and lacks protection of human rights. Such a
Constitution is dangerous for a country emerging from conflict and post-conflict situations, and will
continue to push Burma’s vast problems into neighboring countries and throughout the region if necessary
measures aren’t taken.

The inclusion of genuine democratic opposition parties in the democratic and constitutional process
would not only assure political pluralism and a more effective representation of the people of diverse
ethnicity, it would offer a sustained solution to decades-long political crisis. The Burmese opposition
forces on Burma border’s area and across the world in reflecting the position of ethnic nationalities
leadership and pro-democratic forces inside Burma, have developed a Proposal for National Reconciliation
which offers solutions for the country to move forward, proposing ways that all groups, including the
military can work together to finally bring democratic transition to Burma. We urge the international
community to be united in their support for the will of the people of Burma, and act with firm
resolve not to allow this sham election to proceed until national reconciliation is realized.
Actions Birmanie – Brussels
All Burma Democratic Lusei Women Organization
Alternative ASEAN Network on Burma (Altsean-Burma)
Arakan League for Democracy (Exile - India)
Arakan Liberation Party
ASEAN Inter-Parliamentary Myanmar Caucus (AIPMC)
Asian Center for the Progress of Peoples
Asia Pacific Solidarity Coalition
Association Suisse-Birmanie
Austrian Burma Center
Back Pack Health Worker Team
Birmania por la Paz (Burma Campaign Spain)
Burma Action Ireland
Burma Aktion Germany
Burmese American Democratic Alliance
Burma Campaign Australia
Burma Campaign Korea
Burma Campaign UK
Burma Centre Delhi
Burma Community Resource Center
Burma Democratic Concern
Burma Info (Japan)
Burma Information Team
Burma Lawyers Council
Burma Lusei Union
Burma Medical Association
Burma Mobilize
Burma Partnership
Burma Point
Burmese Women's Union
Canadian Friends of Burma
Chin Human Rights Organization
Chin Students and Youth Federation
Chin Women Organization
Chin Youth Conference
Christian Solidarity Worldwide
Danish Burma Committee
Dictator Watch
Ethnic Nationalities Council
Falam Chin Women Development
Forum for Democracy in Burma
All Burma Federation of Student Unions - Foreign Affairs Committee
All Burma Student Democratic Front
Burmese Women’s Union
Democratic Party for New Society
Network for Democracy and Development
People Defense Force
Yaung Chi Oo Workers Association
Foundation for Media Alternatives (Philippines)
Free Burma Campaign (Korea)
Free Burma Campaign Singapore
Free Burma Campaign, South Africa
Free Burma Coalition-Philippines
Friends of Burma, Malaysia
Friends of Burma, Thailand
Friends of the Third World
Health Equity Initiatives, Malaysia
Hong Kong Coalition for a Free Burma
Info Birmanie (France)
Initiatives for International Dialogue
International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH)
International Women’s Partnership for Peace and Justice (IWP)
Jamalpur Gandhi Ashram
Karen Women’s Organization
Kuki Students Democratic Force
Kuki Women Human Rights Organization
Lamkang Naga Students Union
Lamkang National Council
League for Democracy in Burma (Japan)
Members of Parliament Union
Naga National League for Democracy
Naga Senior Citizens' Forum
Naga Students Union Delhi
Naga Youth Organization
National Council of the Union of Burma – New Zealand Office
National League for Democracy (Liberated Area)
National League for Democracy (Liberated Area) – Korea Branch
Nationalities Youth Forum
All Arakan Students’ and Youths’ Congress
All Kachin Students and Youth Union
Arakan Youth Network Group
Chin Students' Union
Karenni National Youth Organization
Karenni Student Union
Karen Youth Organisation
Kayan New Generation Youth
Mon Unity League
Pa-O Youth Organization
Ta’ang Students and Youth Organization
United Lahu Youth Organization
Zomi Students and Youth Organisation
Norwegian Burma Committee
Patriotic War Veterans of Burma
Peace for Burma
Peaceful Burma
People in Need
People's Forum on Burma (Japan)
Social Upliftment Through Rural Action (SUTRA)
Solidaritas Indonesia untuk Burma (Indonesian Solidarity for Burma)
Students and Youth Congress of Burma
All Arakan Students’ and Youths’ Congress
All Burma Students’ Democratic Front
All Burma Students League
All Kachin Students and Youth Union
Arakan League for Democracy - Youth Wing (Exile)
Democratic Party for a New Society - Youth
Karen Youth Organization
Kayan New Generation Youth
Kuki Students Democratic Front
Mon Youth Progressive Organization
National League for Democracy – Liberated Area, Youth
Naga National League for Democracy – Youth
Pa-O Youth Organization
Ta'ang Students and Youth Organization
Tavoyan Youth Organization
Zomi Students and Youth Organization
Student Federation of Thailand
Shwe Gas Movement
Taiwan Free Burma Network
Women League of Chin-land
Women Rights and Welfare Association of Burma
Zanniat Youth Organizations
Zomi Community Committee
Zomi National Congress
Zomi Reunification Organisation
Zomi Women Union