Monk group and 88 Students slam UN efforts on Burma

Mar 27, 2008 (DVB), The All Burma Monks Alliance and 88 Generation Students have criticised the efforts of United Nations envoy Ibrahim Gambari and called on people to vote No in the May referendum.

In a joint statement released yesterday, the groups expressed their dismay that Gambari had not accurately represented what they judged to be the failure of his mission in his briefing to the UN Security Council on 18 March.

"We hoped he would ask the Council to strengthen the mandate of the secretary-general in pressuring the junta for an all-party inclusive, transparent and democratic process of national reconciliation in our country," the statement said.

"However, to our surprise and sadness, he misled the Council."

The groups said Gambari had changed his mission from putting pressure on the junta for a credible constitution process and meaningful dialogue to "supporting the one-sided acts of the military junta and suggesting that democracy forces surrender".

The statement criticised the "paralysis" of the Security Council and denounced the Chinese, Russian and South African governments for blocking efforts to protect the people of Burma from oppression.

The groups also expressed their disappointment with UN secretary-general Ban Ki-moon for not calling on the Security Council to take effective action on Burma.

The governments of the US, UK, France, Canada, Australia, European Union, Switzerland, Mongolia, Costa Rica, Argentina, Ghana, the Czech Republic, Norway and others were praised for their "continued and persistent support".

"We appreciate these governments for standing together with us in our darkest time, sharing our feelings and lending much-needed assistance," the statement said.

"We request these countries to continue to support us and continue to apply maximum pressure on the military junta, especially including the implementation of finance and banking sanctions against the generals, their family members and crony businessmen," it continued.

"We also request these governments not to recognize the military junta's constitution and urge the UN Security Council to do the same."

In conclusion, the groups said that the people of Burma would continue to fight the oppression of the junta through peaceful means, including by voting No at the upcoming constitutional referendum.

"As the military junta is aggressively and desperately pressuring the people to vote in favor of the constitution, our challenge to reject it will surely be met with a bloody response by the junta," they said.

"Our vote 'No' is not only to the sham constitution, but also to the junta. With or without the help of the UN Security Council, we are ready to determine our own future."

Reporting by DVB

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