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Myanmar Reform
July 18, 2007

Myanmar urged to work out inclusive constitution
United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon on July 18 urged Myanmar's military government to allow all relevant parties in the nation to contribute to the drafting of a new constitution, Deutsche Presse-Agentur (dpa) reported.

Myanmar's National Convention was this week holding a final session to draft the document, which it began developing in 1993. A referendum is to be called to approve the constitution once the drafting is complete.

Ban said in a statement that the government in Myanmar should seize the opportunity to ensure its decisions to draw up the country's 'political roadmap are inclusive, participatory and as transparent as possible, with a view to allowing all relevant parties to Myanmar's national reconciliation process to fully contribute to defining the country's future.'

The UN has been urging Myanmar, formerly Burma, to enact democratic reforms and respect the rule of law and human rights. But the UN's efforts to win the release of opposition leader Daw Aung Suu Kyi have been fruitless as the military regime tightened its authority.
onstitution would create 'a more refined but still repressive system of military rule.'

'The generals who run Burma (Myanmar) have trumpeted the convention as a vehicle for a return to civilian rule and the rule of law,' said Brad Adams, Asia director at Human Rights Watch. 'But they have engineered the outcome to ensure the military remains in control and excluded the people of Burma from the process.'

The rights group said the 1,080 delegates to the convention had been hand-picked by the military government, which at the same time arrested opposition political leaders demanding democracy, including Suu Kyi, leader of the National League for Democracy. Suu Kyi, a Nobel Peace Prize winner, has been under house arrest since she won presidential elections in 1990. dpa

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