NEW DELHI: A group of Asian lawmakers have criticised Asean and its dialogue partner India for not doing enough to resolve the human sufferings in Myanmar the only military-ruled state in Southeast Asia.
The Asean Inter-Parliamentary Myanmar Caucus (AIPMC) wants Asean and India to play a constructive role in restoring democracy in Myanmar by engaging genuine political dialogue among all parties in the state.
"Things are getting worse in Burma (Myanmar) and there are more refugees fleeing Burma," said Charles Chong, a Singapore parliamentarian and vice-chair of the AIPMC.
"Asean cannot do it on its own because the military generals have made it clear that the western sanction has no impact so long as the two largest neighbours, India and China, continue to do big business (with Myanmar)," he added.
Chong said Asean had tried to influence the military leaders for the last 10 years but the efforts were wasted as they failed to convince the junta to restore democracy and introduce civil rule by holding elections. Lawmakers across South Asia and Southeast Asia were debating the role of regional powers at the "Parliamentarian Solidarity for the Struggle of Democracy in Myanmar" in Delhi last week.
Sharad Joshi, the convenor of Indian Parliamentarians' Forum for Democracy in Burma urged regional leaders, especially from the eight-member South Asia Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) to pressure the military regime to release all political prisoners.
"Asean and SAARC countries should come together for immediate release of all political prisoners including Aung San Suu Kyi and restoration of democracy in Burma," he said.
Suu Kyi, the 64-year-old pro-democracy leader, has spent almost 14 of the past 20 years under house arrest.
The parliamentarians want Myanmar to hold fair and free elections next year, cease attacks against ethnic groups and review the 2008 constitution before the elections are held in 2010. - Bernama