Monday, February 25, 2008

Political Veterans letter to Than Shwe

The President,
State Peace and Development Council (SPDC)
Union of Myanmar

Dated 20 February 2008

Subject- Advice relating to Statement No 1/2008 and 2/2008 issued by the SPDC

1. Motivated by a desire to serve the people and for their good, we, the political veterans offer our advice with regard to Statements 1 and 2 issued on the 9th February, 2008 by the SPDC.

2. Since the 24th November, 1995, and consistently after that date, we have consistently maintained that the best way to bring about reconciliation, unity, peace and prosperity in all political, social and humanitarian spheres, all nationalities and parties should come together and find solutions by peaceful dialogue.

3. The United Nations General Assembly and the Security Council, world leaders, important international figures have all arrived at a consensus and passed resolutions that tripartite dialogue between the SPDC, the National League for Democracy (NLD), and the leaders of the Nationalities should be held to resolve constitutional and other matters to restore the democratic system of government in Burma. United Nations representatives have visited and spoken to your members and Senior General Than Shwe himself had given the assurance to Mr. Gambari that he would meet with Daw Aung San Suu Kyi for talks. Also a senior minister was appointed who has met with Daw Aung San Suu Kyi three or four times. This sparked a glimmer of hope for the future in our hearts.

4. Now the SPDC is disregarding all that has been said and done and in issuing the above Statements, it has decided to flout the wishes of the people, the democratic forces, the advice and urgings of international figures and organisations and to march ahead according to its own agenda and its own wishes and desires. You have announced that a referendum will be held in the month of May, which is little more than two months away, but the draft constitution which will be put to the people for approval at that referendum has not been published and distributed to the people for scrutiny or study. The result of such forced and hasty action can only result in more problems for the future. The present problems that the people are suffering will not be solved and there is no way that reconciliation and unity can be achieved. This nation will be a disgrace in the eyes of the world. We therefore request you to seriously reconsider the position and adhere to Statement Number 1/90 issued by the State Law and Order Restoration Council (SLORC).

5. We have misgivings also about the decision to hold another General Election when up to date you have not honored the results of the free and fair elections that you yourselves conducted in 1990. This has left a big black blotch in the country s history. You are not acting according to the people's wishes and we urge you to reconsider this decision.

6. However if you will not reconsider your position and will stubbornly go ahead with your plans to hold the Referendum we ask that
• the draft constitution which is the subject of the referendum be distributed to all the people in sufficient time and accessible places.
• a proper and systematic method be adopted in order that all eligible voters will be included and given the opportunity to exercise their right to vote.
• proper polling booths be erected to enable voters to cast their votes without fear and in accordance with their free will and desire.
• Polling booths be properly and strictly supervised to facilitate free and fair casting of votes.
• allow supervision and inspection by representatives of the United Nations, foreign correspondents and the media.
• All staff members in charge of polling booths to be given powers to act decisively for the achievement of a free and fair referendum.
• Abolish Law No 5/96 ( this law empowers the government to punish with impunity those who cast votes against them) which could instill fear of retribution in the hearts of those who go against the wishes of the government.
• Release all political prisoners and also allow other prisoners to cast their votes in this referendum.

We further urge that the SPDC announce their agenda should the referendum not result according to their desire because in life, things we do not wish to happen can happen and things that we wish for can fail to be obtained.

Signed (Thakin Thein Pe)
On behalf of Political Veterans

"Unoffical Translation By NCGUB"

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