국제엠네스티는 미얀마 정부의 표현, 평화적 집회 및 결사의 자유에 대한 공격이 20년 만에 치러지는 이번 선거를 위태롭게 하고 있다고 전했다.
미얀마에서 20년만에 치러질 선거는 정부의 표현, 평화적 집회, 그리고 결사의 자유에 대한 공격으로 대변될 수 있다고 국제앰네스티는 전했다.
미얀마 당국은 선거일인 11월 7일까지 실행할 몇가시 새 법안들과 명령을 발표했는데 여기에는 표현의 자유와 정부에 대한 비판을 제한하고, 정치집단이 선거를 거부할 수 없도록 하며, 수감중인 2,200명의 정치범들의 석방에 대한 국민들의 요구에 엄중 조치한다는 내용이 담겨있다.
국제앰네스티 사릴 세티 사무총장은 “세계가 지켜보고 있는 이번 선거는 미얀마로 하여금 인권에 대한 중요한 변화를 일으킬 절호의 기회”라며 “그러나 선거 직전까지 정부는 의미 있는 선거를 치르는데 있어 필요한 권리들을 탄압하고 있다”고 말했다.
정부가 탄압적인 선거법을 통과시킨 지난 3월부터 정부는 표현, 집회, 결사의 자유를 빈번히 침해해 왔다. 최근에 발생한 침해들은 다음과 같다:
• 9월 14일, 선거위원회는 국영 미디어에서 방송되는 선거연설을 강력히 규제하는 내용을 담은 내용의 공고를 내었으며, 정부에 대한 비판, 특히 민족 문제에 대한 비판을 금지하는 모호한 조항이 포함되어 있다.
• 9월 18일, 정부는 아웅산 수치여사와 민족민중동맹(National League for Democratic Party)에 선거참여를 거부하지 말 것을 경고했다.
• 9월 27일, 당국은 승려인 아신 오칸타(Ashin Okkanta)가 미얀마에 있는 정치범들을 석방할 것을 요구하는 전단을 살포했다는 이유로 15년 형에 처했다.
• 9월 마지막 2주 동안 당국은 양곤 지역에서 선거 거부를 요구하는 전단을 나눠준11명의 학생들을 체포했고 이중 최소 9명은 아직도 구금되어 있다.
MYANMAR GOVERNMENT ATTACKS ON FREEDOMS COMPROMISE ELECTIONS
5 November 2010The Myanmar government’s attacks on the freedoms of expression, peaceful assembly, and association compromises the country’s first elections in 20 years, Amnesty International said today.
The Myanmar authorities have introduced several new laws and directives in the run up to the 7 November elections, restricting free speech and criticism of the government, prohibiting political parties from boycotting the elections, and cracking down on internal calls for the release of the estimated 2,200 political prisoners in the country.
“These elections presented an opportunity for Myanmar to make meaningful human rights changes on its own terms—and with the world watching,” said Salil Shetty, Amnesty International’s Secretary General. “Instead, throughout the run up to the polls, the government has attacked the rights necessary for holding meaningful elections.”
Since March this year, when the government enacted restrictive and repressive Electoral Laws, it has routinely violated the freedoms of expression, peaceful assembly, and association. Recent violations include:
On 14 September, the Election Commission issued a notice outlining strict restrictions on campaign speeches to be broadcast on state media, including vaguely worded provisions that effectively ban criticism of the government or any mention of the country’s problems, particularly ethnic issues.
On 18 September, the government warned Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and her National League for Democracy party—winners of the 1990 elections—of penalties for encouraging an election boycott.
On 27 September, authorities sentenced Ashin Okkanta, an ethnic Mon monk, to 15 years’ imprisonment for possessing leaflets calling for the release all political prisoners in Myanmar.
In the final two weeks of September, the authorities arrested 11 students, at least nine of whom remain in detention, in Yangon for handing out leaflets urging people not to vote.
“That Myanmar continues to hold more than 2,200 political prisoners exposes the government’s contempt for human rights in these elections,” said Salil Shetty. “Their self-described ‘Roadmap to Democracy’, of which these elections are meant to be a significant part, seems to lead only to continuing political repression.”
The Myanmar government maintains that it is not holding any political prisoners, despite the highly critical report of the UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Myanmar released on 15 September 2010.
Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, whose National League for Democracy party won Myanmar’s last polls in 1990 has spent nearly 15 of the past 21 years in detention.
The Myanmar government has also recently denied allegations of serious human rights violations in the country’s ethnic minority regions in the run-up to the polls, including attacks targeting civilians in the army’s ongoing counter-insurgency efforts. In 2008 Amnesty International found that such attacks amounted to crimes against humanity. Amnesty International has called on the UN to establish a Commission of Inquiry into the serious human rights violations in Myanmar.
“Myanmar’s record of human rights violations has threatened the stability of the country and the region, and it’s time for the UN, as well as Myanmar’s neighbours in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), to say enough is enough,” said Salil Shetty. “The sham nature of these elections should convince even China and India—which have been supportive of Myanmar’s military government—to side with the people of the country instead.”
The elections are being held against a backdrop of political repression and systematic violence that has continued since tens of thousands of protesters—led by Buddhist monks—took to the streets in August and September 2007, demanding economic and political reforms. The peaceful country-wide demonstrations were violently put down by the authorities, resulting in at least 31 (and possibly more than a hundred) people killed and many more injured, and at least 74 people disappeared and thousands detained.
“Denying the existence of political prisoners and the occurrence of serious international crimes will not make them disappear,” said Salil Shetty. “Only by releasing the prisoners and holding perpetrators of such crimes accountable can the government begin to adequately address these persistent human rights challenges. Holding elections is not enough.”
Regardless of the election results, Amnesty International calls on ASEAN, and Myanmar’s other Asian neighbours, to demand the release of political prisoners and to make a Commission of Inquiry a reality in Myanmar.