Chiang Mai, New Delhi (Mizzima) – The National League for Democracy's (NLD) Central Executive Committee (CEC) told UN rights envoy Tomas Ojea Quintana yesterday that Aung San Suu Kyi must to be released.
Her release is vital for Burma's national reconciliation; the five NLD CEC members told Quintana during their one hour meeting at Rangoon's Mya Yeik Nyo Royal Hotel.
“We talked with him about Daw Aung San Suu Kyi. We told him that she must be released. He also said that he wanted to meet with Daw Aung San Suu Kyi”, said U Win Tin an NLD CEC member present at the meeting.
Leading the NLD delegation was NLD Vice-Chairman Tin Oo the eighty-four year decorated soldier released last weekend after serving 6 years of house arrest.
“Mr. Quintana said to us that he was very glad to see all of our CEC members here and he was encouraged seeing us altogether. And he would note down what we presented here to him and report to his superiors”, Khin Maung Swe told Mizzima.
At the meeting the NLD brought up the junta's rejection of the NLD's 1990 election victory, the NLD's demand for the immediate release of all of Burma's more than 2000 and the urgent need to amend the widely reviled 2008 constitution which permanently enshrines the military's domination of national affairs.
The NLD team also made clear to the UN envoy that they were still adhering to the points outlined in the Shwe Gong Daing Declaration and therefore the party will not contest the upcoming national elections supposedly set to take place at some point this year. The Shwe Gong Daing Declaration was adopted last year and approved at plenary meeting attended by delegates from State and Division NLD branches, MPs and the party's central leadership.
“Human rights issues are important and they cannot be considered separate from basic politics. We have no plan to join the upcoming election. We will stand on the Shwe Gong Daing Declaration.”, Win Tin said.
In the Shwe Gong Daing Declaration, the NLD party called for amending the 2008 constitution, releasing all political prisoners, the resumption of real dialogue between the opposition and the military for national reconciliation and the need for some kind of official recognition of the NLD's 1990 election landslide victory.
During the meeting the NLD informed the UN rights envoy about the regimes numerous attacks on the NLD, including the forcible closing of NLD party offices, the removal of party signboards from NLD offices and the regime's various restrictions which prevent the NLD from working with the party's grassroots supporters.
Unclear if Envoy will be allowed to meet Aung San Suu Kyi
The envoy told the NLD representatives that he would leave for Naypyidaw on Friday and hoped that upon his return from the capital the generals would allow him to see Aung San Suu Kyi. It appears Quintana will only find out if he will be able to meet the Nobel Peace Prize Winner when he returns from the military regime's sparsely populated new capital.
Following the meeting the NLD expressed their satisfaction with the UN envoy and his visit to Burma.
“We are satisfied with his visit as he will present the human rights situation in Burma to the relevant UN authorities. With regards to Burma, it is not only a human rights issue, there are also political issues which must be presented too. We hope he understands about our political situation. We hope he also presents these political issues to the UN”, Win Tin said.
During his 5-days fact finding trip which began on the February 15th, Qunitana also visited Sittwe and Buthidaung prisons in Rakhine State. While in Rakhine State, the International Labour Organization (ILO) Resident Representative in Burma Steve Marshall also accompanied him. In Rakhine they met with over 20 NGOs and Muslim leaders.
According to the UN's Rangoon spokesperson at Buthidaung prison, Quintana met with prominent 88 Generation Student activist Htay Kywe and other political prisoners including Tun Nyo, Myat Tun, Ahmed and Kyaw Min. Kyaw Min, a member of the Rohingya minority and an elected MP member is presently serving a 47 year prison sentence following his 2005 arrest and subsequent nullification of his Burmese citizenship.
At Sittwe prison the envoys met with political prisoners Than Tin, Pyae Phyo Hlaing, Aung Tun Myint and U Sandar Thiri. After arriving back in Rangoon on Thursday, Quintana met with political prisoners at the infamous Insein prison. This group included Naw Ohn Hla, Ma Than Than Htay, Kyaw San, Kyi Than, Myo Win and Khai Kyaw Moe.
Although the Information Department of the UN's Rangoon office claimed their envoy would meet with ethnic leaders during his trip, the respected United Nationalities Alliance (UNA) told Mizzima they did not receive a request for a meeting from the UN.
The UNA spokesperson Pu Cing TsianThang.told Mizzima that “the SPDC (junta) interprets ethnic leaders as those having cordial relationship with them and non opposition parties. As we have not yet received any information from UN office until today, there is almost no hope for us to meet with him”.