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Kuala Lumpur Asean Protest
- Subject: Kuala Lumpur Asean Protest
- From: altsean@xxxxxxxxxx
- Date: Wed, 23 Jul 1997 04:40:00
For immediate release
ACTIVISTS STAGE SILENT PROTEST AND DELIVER BURMA STATEMENT TO ASEAN
Kuala Lumpur: Gagged Malaysian activists today staged a protest outside the
venue of the Asean Ministerial Meeting hours before the regional grouping
was due to formally welcome Burma's State Law and Order Restoration Council
(Slorc) as a member.
In a statement delivered to a representative of Asean, the group described
the admission of Slorc as a mark of shame to peoples of the region who value
human rights, justice, democracy and peace. ALTSEAN-BURMA Coordinator Ms
Debbie Stothard and Burma Solidarity Group Malaysia Coordinator Mr Fan Yew
Teng delivered the statement to Asean representative Encik Arshad, who
agreed to forward it immediately to the Malaysian Foreign Minister.(Malaysia
is the current chair of Asean.)
The statement said: "This act of recognizing the infamous regime as the
government of Burma is a direct, oppressive interference in Burma's affairs.
To deny the people's vote in 1990 that granted 82% of parliamentary seats to
the National League for Democracy (NLD) and instead recognize the brutal
junta, which won only 5% of the seats, amounts to an obscenity.
"Asean's refusal to dialogue with the government-elect of Burma is further
proof of its poor commitment to the peace, justice, rule of law and social
progress espoused in the Bangkok Declaration of 1967, which established Asean.
"Asean's choice to welcome Slorc and therefore squander its leverage to
ensure genuine reform in Burma is a sell-out of our 48 million neighbors in
The activists wore black T-shirts featuring the slogan "Burma - Asean's
shame" and gags bearing the words "peace?" , " "freedom?", "prosperity?" and
"neutrality?" during the protest in condemnation of Asean. The words were a
sarcastic repetition of the objectives of the proposed Asean Vision 2020,
which was announced to the media yesterday.
Only four activists were officially part of the protest. This was meant as a
statement concerning Malaysia's own repressive laws which defined a
gathering of five or more people as an "illegal assembly" and a concession
to pressure by Malaysian authorities to call off the action.
The Kuala Lumpur action is one of several initiated in the region in protest
against Slorc's entry to Asean. In Thailand, over 400 Burmese students
today commenced a hunger strike in defiance of a ban by the Thai authorities
on "political activity". In Manila, protest actions were also organised in
opposition to the Asean welcoming ceremony.
For more details of regional activities or a copy of the protest statement,
please contact the ALTSEAN-BURMA Secretariat in Bangkok:
tel: 662 275 1811, tel/fax: 662 693 4515 or email <altsean@xxxxxxxxxx>