'Non-political' group to assess sanctions

Apr 8, 2009 (DVB), A self-proclaimed non-partisan group in Burma has announced plans to examine the effects of sanctions on Burmese citizens and present their findings to the United States and European Union.

The group, calling themselves Lifting Sanctions, Internal and External Forces, 2009 Campaign, announcement its intentions in a statement released yesterday at a news conference in Rangoon.

"Economic sanctions are an inhumane policy which delays [Burma’s] path to democracy in the transition period," China Radio International quoted the statement as saying.

The group claim to be a non-political body, with no ties either to the government or opposition movement.

It remains ambiguous as to whether the group would pass comment on the ruling State Peace and Development Council's role in the imposition of sanctions.

"For the time being, it is early to say," said member Aung Khine Win.

"We [have] neither cooperation nor separation with the military government."

The Burmese government's sentencing of political prisoners and heavy restrictions on opposition parties has been citied as the main reason for the imposition of sanctions.

Another member, Ko Ko Latt, insisted the group had no affiliation with the pro-government 88 generation students (Union of Myanmar) group, who in the past has called for the lifting of sanctions.

Yesterday, activist group 88 generation students (not to be confused with the above) sent a letter to the SPDC outlining the need for the government to carry out reforms as a precursor to sanctions being lifted.

If the government continued to ignore demands for the release of political prisoners and an amendment to the 2008 constitution, which guarantees a continuation of military rule, then the economic blockade would increase, said member Nay Myo.

Reporting by Khin Maung Soe Min

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