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May 12, 2008 (DVB)-The Alternative ASEAN Network on Burma said today that ASEAN should be acting "more urgently and more proactively" to address the humanitarian crisis in Burma in the aftermath of Cyclone Nargis.
ALTSEAN’s Debbie Stothard told DVB that ASEAN should take stronger action to persuade the SPDC to take responsibility for the people of Burma.
"[T]his is a serious humanitarian issue, it’s not a political issue any more. They must understand that they have to take a strong stand, they have to take some strong action to persuade the SPDC to allow aid supplies and aid workers to come into Burma to help the people," she said.
"Now is the SPDC’s chance to show that they are helping the people by allowing the international community into the country; otherwise more and more people will die."
She also urged Indonesia and Vietnam, the two ASEAN members currently sitting on the United Nations Security Council, to speak more about the situation and encourage China and India to use their influence on the junta.
Stothard said the ALTSEAN network would support humanitarian intervention in Burma to provide assistance to cyclone victims if the junta continues to obstruct aid efforts.
"We definitely agree there must be a humanitarian intervention if the SPDC is not allowing people to come in and help," she said.
"People in the Irrawaddy delta must be thinking that the world has forgotten them and is not helping them, when everyone wants to help but the SPDC does not allow it."
"For many people in Burma and outside it is very frustrating to see people waiting politely for the SPDC, trying to ask them to change their mind. Every day more and more people are dying in Burma because of this."
Stothard said she wanted the Burmese people to know that they had not been forgotten by the international community.
"If anyone from Burma can hear this we hope that they know we have not forgotten them, we are working very hard to try and help them and we hope that they will try their best to survive in this situation," she said.
Reporting by Ye Thu