by Parliamentary Opposition Leader, DAP Secretary-General and MP for Tanjung, Lim Kit Siang, in Petaling Jaya on Tuesday, 24th May 1994:
DAP calls on the Cabinet to ask ASEAN to cancel the invitation to Myanmar to attend the ASEAN ministerial meeting in Bangkok in July unless the military junta releases Nobel Peace Prize laureate Aung San Suu Kyi from detention
DAP call on the Cabinet to ask ASEAN to cancel the invtation to Myanmar to attend the ASEAN Ministerial meeting in Bangkok in July unless the Myanmar military junta shows greater respect for human rights, as in releasing Nobel Peace Prize laureate Aung San Suu Kyi from detention.
Malaysia and the ASEAN nations must take serious note of a recent United Nations special report on human rights viola¬tions in Myanmar and how Myanmar citizens live in constant fear, deprived of basic civil and political rights such as freedom of thought, opinion, expression, publication and peaceful assembly.
Rapporteur Yozo Yokota had told the United Nations Commission on Human Rights in Geneva in February that Myanmar has to be “brought into line with accepted international standards regarding protection of physical integrity rights”.
Yokota said that despite certain improvements, such as the release of 2,000 political prisoners since April 1992 and proposals for talks with armed rebel groups, the serious restrictions imposed upon the people of Myanmar politically must remain a matter of serious concern.
ASEAN must show its concern for the human rights violations in Myanmar by not giving respectability and legitimacy to the Myanmar military junta unless the State Law and Order Restoration Council (SLORC) is prepared to show greater respect for universal human rights.
Otherwise, Myanmar’s invitation to the ASEAN Ministe¬rial meeting would be construed as international recognition for its human rights violations and acceptance of its dismal human rights record.
Malaysia and ASEAN have espoused the policy of ‘con¬structive engagement’ with Myanmar, but such a policy of con¬structive engagement’ have not been able to engage the SLORC on human rights issues in Myanmar so far.
The time has come for Malaysia and ASEAN to give a stronger push to the SLORC on the human rights question, so that the ‘constructive engagement’ policy is an ‘engagement’ on the vital question of human rights and not just an ‘engagement’ for profitable business deals to exploit the Myanmese natural resources at the expense of the rights and future of the Myanmese people.