The 2010 general elections in Burma is a charade, and the international community must denounce both the process and the results of this sham political process that will bring neither the change Burma needs nor deserve.
It is obvious to see and understand the regime’s ulterior motives and schemes regarding the elections. An Washington Post editorial published on Sunday, April 4 argued that the only reason Burma’s junta has gone to such extremes to create the appearance of democracy with the upcoming elections is because they care about international opinion. Burma’s generals want to get rid of financial and trade sanctions imposed by the global community by casting off the impression that they are the world’s most repressive regime. With this in mind, nations can tighten financial sanctions, push the United Nations to investigate the regime’s crimes such as forced labor, minor conscription, and rape. The international community must show both the sticks and the carrots that the regime must first and foremost, release all political prisoners, initiate tripartite dialogue and cease killing, destroying and raping the lives of many Burmese civilians. Once those initiatives are made, we can then talk about the issue of sanctions.
An op-ed by Zin Linn, a former political prisoner in Burma, argued that the European Union could play an important role ensuring that talks between the State Peace and Development Council (SPDC) and Daw Aung San Suu Kyi are meaningful and substantial political dialogue. Exiled dissident groups and the people of Burma are hopeful that the EU and other governments state publicly that they will not recognize the 2010 elections as legitimate, and that they will impose additional financial sanctions and arms embargoes if the SPDC continues to undermine reconciliation. Japan, one of Burma’s largest aid donors, has already warned that they will not increase economic aid to Burma unless the regime allows democracy leaders such as Aung San Suu Kyi to participate in the elections.
A third opinion piece from Tim Aye Hardy, a leader of the 8888 Uprising urges President Obama to implement a 2008 law forcing international banks to stop using U.S. dollars if they do business with Burma’s junta. He insisted that the U.S. must increase financial sanctions on Burma aimed at stopping the generals from accessing their funds in international banks in order to produce tangible results before this year’s ill-fated elections.