evening distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen,
am deeply honored to stand here tonight and welcome you all to this very
important event. The May
1990 General Elections in Burma must be the most talked about political
event in the past decade. It
attracts the attention of individuals, organizations and governments
around the globe mainly because victory was turned into defeat by a
victorious political party, the NLD, became victims and the people were
denied the government of their choice.
desire to transform Burma into a democracy was ruthlessly suppressed.
the elections could be said to be free and fair, the military rulers
have ignored the results, flouted the will of the people and right up to
this day will not give in.
recently Lt Gen Khin Nyunt made a public statement to the effect that
state power would not be transferred until the country's economy was
strong. This has prompted
much speculation about their true intentions in their secret talks,
which started in October last with Daw Aung San Suu Kyi.
will not elaborate on these "talks" because fortunately,
present with us tonight are Ms. Debbie Stothard, the Coordinator of
Alternative ASEAN, and Dr. Myint Cho, the special assistant to the
President of the member of the parliamentary union, who have kindly
consented to speak to us on the work they have been doing in Thailand
and the current situation regarding these secret talks.
the president of MPU, Mr. Teddy Buri, had to leave the country to answer
the call of duty and cannot be here with us tonight.
problems confronting Burma are many.
with ethnic minority groups,
mismanagement by greedy, self serving ignoramuses,
and moral degradation in the civil service,
public health system which is deteriorating rapidly,
education system that has lost a generation.
are just a few, which has made Burma a least developed pariah country.
The ruling military junta has brought all this about.
How can they ever solve the problems that the country faces
do not have the political will or the moral courage to stop human rights
abuses perpetrated by the regional commanders and their cronies.
Forced labor will always be used essentially for their military
operations. We hope they
will come to their senses and realize the need to negotiate without
intimidation. Forty years of military rule has resulted in a culture of
fear and mistrust. It is important that through these "talks"
confidence can be built to set the country on the road to
reconciliation, peace and stability. The country's future depends on it.
are grateful to the United States of America and the European Union for
deciding to keep up the pressure on the military regime until such time
the "talks" produce tangible results.
As for countries that have gone soft, we ask you to honestly
assess the situation and act in such a way as to help the people and not
the rulers. By this I
especially mean the governments of Australia and Japan. Our request to
the Australian government is that it put on hold human rights seminars
which give some form of legitimacy to the SPDC and Japan should rethink
how its resumption of aid will prolong the life of the junta. Please
help Burma to move forward, not backward at this time when it is at the
remind the audience here of the prophetic words by Daw Aung San Suu Kyi
at one o'clock in the afternoon of the 11th of July 1995 when she
received official intimation of the end of her house arrest.
are her very words.
have always believed that the future stability and happiness of our
nation depends entirely on the readiness of all parties to work for
has been undoubtedly the key to a happy resolution of long-festering
problems. Once bitter
enemies in South Africa are now working together for the betterment of
their peoples. Why can't we
look forward to a similar process?
We have to choose between dialogue
or utter devastation."
instinct of survival alone, if nothing else, will eventually lead all of
us to prefer dialogue.
we want the people of Burma to survive, and if we want to avoid utter
devastation for Burma, all of us must do what we can, in whatever
capacity, to see this dialogue process continue.
The least we can do is not to go against the wishes of Daw Su and
welcome our guests who have supported us faithfully in making this event
a success. I thank the
important people who have consented to speak to us tonight.
I thank those who have sent their apologies.
I thank them for their messages expressing their solidarity with
us. I thank the faithful members of our organization who have supported
me in my task as their president.
Thank you all for listening.