The last time an election took place in Myanmar (also known as Burma), the results were ignored and the winner, Aung San Suu Kyi, was locked up.
Twenty years later – on November 7 – the country will hold another much-anticipated and highly controversial election. However Aung San Suu Kyi, whose party won the elections 20 years ago by a landslide, will likely not be released from house arrest until after the election has concluded.
Aung San Suu Kyi is one of more than 2,100 political prisoners detained in Myanmar today. Silencing opposition voices violates three fundamental freedoms that all member countries of ASEAN, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations – including Myanmar – must adhere to: freedom of expression, peaceful assembly and association.
When the countries forming ASEAN speak with one voice, then even repressive and guarded countries like Myanmar are hard-pressed not to respond.
We’ve seen it before when Myanmar’s security forces violently beat back peaceful protesters during the 2007 Saffron Revolution. ASEAN certainly didn’t sit quietly then. And as Myanmar sets itself on another collision course with human rights and basic freedoms, ASEAN can’t afford to sit quietly now.
Over the past few months, the foreign ministers of Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines and Thailand – all ASEAN member countries – have gone on the record, stressing the need for credible elections. But without the full weight of ASEAN backing this message, these words will not be transformed into action.
The pressure’s already been building around the world. Fellow Amnesty International activists have rallied to send an overwhelming 50,000 messages to the foreign ministers of ASEAN nations. Now it’s our turn!
Click here to call on ASEAN to reign in its member state Myanmar before the election in November.
Don’t allow political dissent in Myanmar to be silenced for another 20 years.