ASEAN says it is frustrated with Myanmar
Expressing growing frustration across the region, the bloc's main committee said there has been no sign of change in Myanmar.india Updated: Jun 20, 2006 11:58 IST
Southeast Asian lawmakers called on Tuesday for Myanmar to be hauled in front of the UN Security Council, saying its neighbours were "lost" on how to deal with the country's military rulers.
Expressing growing frustration across the region, the bloc's main committee on Myanmar said there had been no sign of change despite calls for democracy and the release of political prisoners like Aung San Suu Kyi.
"We urge the United Nations to take the issue to the Security Council," said the chairman of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Inter-parliamentary Myanmar Caucus (AIPMC), Malaysia's Zaid Ibrahim.
"There is no democratic progress in Myanmar and ASEAN is lost on what to do," he said in a telephone interview from the Indonesian capital Jakarta where some 20 council members gathered to decide on future action plans.
"Unless there is pressure from the UN and the Security Council, I do not see any changes taking place and Aung San Suu Kyi will continue to be detained," Zaid said.
Lawmakers from Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore and Thailand are members of the caucus, which was formed in 2004 to push for democratic reforms in Myanmar, formerly known as Burma.
ASEAN has put aside its policy of non-interference in members' affairs in recent months to demand that Myanmar's ruling generals introduce democratic reforms or risk bringing the entire region into disrepute.
Zaid said that regional heavyweights China and India must also play a bigger role in ending Yangon's repressive policies and campaigning for the release of Aung San Suu Kyi.
"We think it is not in the interest of China and India to allow the political situation in Myanmar to remain stagnant as it poses a problem to its neighbours," he said.
Last December the United States pushed the UN Security Council to hold a briefing on human rights and other problems in Myanmar for the first time.
Washington is now lobbying for a UN Security Council resolution calling on Myanmar's military regime to change its repressive policies.
UN Deputy Secretary General Mark Malloch Brown said Monday that it was possible Myanmar could be referred to Security Council.
Aung San Suu Kyi, a Nobel Peace Prize winner who won disallowed 1990 elections in a landslide, has spent 10 of the past 17 years in detention at her home in Yangon.