Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Human Rights Watch report blasts 2010 election

Tuesday, 25 January 2011 20:37 Ko Wild

Chiang Mai (Mizzima) – The US-based Human Right Watch (HRW) has issued a report saying the Burmese regime continually denied the public a fair election in 2010 and the human rights situation continues to deteriorate.

The report said that the regime held the general election only after further limiting the rights of freedom of speech and the media and after promulgating undemocratic electoral laws which favoured the junta-backed political party in the election.

HRW noted that the regime of taking ‘preventive measures’ to ensure the main opposition leader, Aung San Suu Kyi, was banned from the electoral process and her party was disbanded as a legal political party.

Moreover, the regime’s electoral laws prohibited any criticism of the military and the 2008 Constitution and holding meetings in religious buildings and schools.

The report also criticised the process by which a ‘social organisation’, the Union Solidarity and Development Association (USDA), was transformed into a political party as the Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP) and led by 27 junta ministers, including the prime minister, after they resigned from their military posts in April last year.

The junta-backed party inherited funds and other assets owned by the former USDA, the report noted.

Moreover, HRW noted that the regime cancelled polling in 32 townships in Kachin, Kayah, Karen, Mon and Shan states where dissident armed groups dominated the area, claiming security issues.

The general election held in November 2010 was not in accordance with human rights principles and norms, both HRW and the Rangoon-based human rights group, Burma Network for Human Rights (BNHR) pointed out.

The report compiled by BNHR portrayed malpractices, electoral fraud and vote rigging with detailed facts, noting the canvassing of junta ministers by using state-owned funds, vote rigging by using bogus absentee votes, ticking on ballots by polling booth heads on behalf of voters, issuing ballots more than once to some voters, conducting election campaign meetings at religious buildings, not counting votes in the presence of voters as stipulated by electoral laws and other malpracticies.

The report also pointed out the unreliable election results announced by the election commission in which state-run newspapers claimed Ingyanyan constituency No. 2 and Somprabom constituency No. 2 had been won by USDP candidates. In fact, voting in the constituencies was cancelled.

The report also cited the ongoing objections and lawsuits being filed by various opposition political parties and the USDP.

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