Monks and students reject junta's constitution

Jun 5, 2008 (DVB), The All-Burmese Monks' Alliance, 88 Generation Students and All Burma Federation of Student Unions issued a joint statement yesterday rejecting the state constitution adopted by the military regime last week.

The organisations also urged the people of Burma and the international community not to accept the constitution that formally creates a repressive military class and legalises prolonged military rule in Burma.

Htun Myint Aung, a leader of the 88 Generation Students, told DVB that the statement was intended to firmly express that the constitution written in favour of the military and adopted by the junta by force was not acceptable.

"The constitution drafting process didn't follow democratic principles and it was written amid injustices," said Htun Myint Aung.

"The essence of the constitution doesn't reflect the public interest or that of ethnic nationalities; it is just systematically structured to permit a long-lasting military dictatorship in the country," he went on.

"Furthermore, it was adopted by force and deception and such a constitution is impossible to accept."

The statement stressed that parliamentarians elected in the 1990 election had not been allowed to participate in the constitution drafting process and citizens had been threatened and prevented from free participation in the process by degree 5/96 which mandated a prison term for critics of the National Convention.

Proposals put forward by ceasefire organisations for a federal system in Burma were also rejected.

In conclusion, the groups emphasised that the UN and the international community should not accept the "military constitution", which they said does not represent the will of the citizens.

"We have already documented how the national referendum was held amid gross injustice and deception and we are going to submit our findings to the UN, foreign governments and the international community," Htun Myint Aung said.

"We want the UN and international governments to know that diplomatic pressure does not work on Burma's military junta," he said.

"We want them to take practical and concrete action against the generals to stop their continuous repression and bring them to the negotiating table to solve the country's deep-rooted political impasse."

Reporting by Aye Nai

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