Sunday, 24 August 2008

UN can send Burma a strong message

( - ALTHOUGH THE indicators of achievement for United Nations special representative Ibrahim Gambari's mission in Burma are appropriate and commendable goals, your Aug. 18 editorial "Begging won't save Burma" failed to note a key reason why Gambari has not been able to meet these indicators.

The UN has refused to provide Gambari with any meaningful tools that might persuade the military junta to listen to his message. In fact, for years China has used its Security Council veto to block any use of UN enforcement mechanisms against the Burmese junta, and other governments, eager to sustain trade interests and investments in Burma, have stood in the way of meaningful sanctions.

But the UN can send a meaningful message to the junta that cannot be blocked. During the upcoming session of the General Assembly, the representatives of the Burmese people elected during the 1990 elections, in coordination with a coalition of groups fighting for democracy in Burma, will mount a credentials challenge in the General Assembly.

Through this longstanding procedural mechanism, they will seek to unseat the wholly illegitimate military junta and take their rightful place as the true representatives of the Burmese people. The people deserve at long last to have their voice heard in the UN.

General Secretary
National Council of the Union of Burma
Mae Sot, Thailand