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Burmese Regime Announces Sham Referendum

Press Statement
Sean McCormack, Spokesman
Washington, DC
February 11, 2008

Burmese Regime Announces Sham Referendum

The Burmese regime's insistence on proceeding with a referendum on a proposed constitution, which was drafted in a closed process by a hand-picked committee dominated by senior regime officials, is further evidence of its refusal to pursue a meaningful and time-bound dialogue with Burma's democratic and ethnic minority representatives.

Than Shwe's regime continues to arrest, prosecute, and imprison peaceful political activists. No referendum held under these conditions - a pervasive climate of fear, in which virtually the entire opposition, including Aung San Suu Kyi, is under detention and the Burmese people have not been allowed to participate in, or even discuss, the drafting of a constitution - can be free, fair, or credible. For the Burmese political process to have any legitimacy - and any hope of creating conditions for the resolution of the country's many problems - it must be made fully inclusive and open to genuine participation.

On October 11, 2007, the United Nations Security Council called on the regime to cooperate with Secretary General Ban's good offices mission, to release all political prisoners, and to create the necessary conditions for a genuine dialogue with Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and all concerned parties and ethnic groups. Than Shwe's regime continues to defy the desire of the Burmese people and the international community for a credible transition to democracy in Burma.

2008/97

Released on February 11, 2008

ENDS

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