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The Gambari Mission: A Failed Bid?
by Rohingya Human Rights
2008-01-04 10:10:52
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The UN which is believed to be the last resort of hope for the hopeless people, has appointed Mr Ibrahim Gambari, a Nigerian Diplomat on a mission to bring peace trough restoration of democracy and human rights in Burma, a country which has been groaning under the military boot since 1962, when Gen. Ne Win seized the power through a coup overthrowing a democratic government.

The UN has been pressing for a meaningful participation for Aung San Suu Kyi and other democratic and ethnic minority leaders in the process of drafting a national constitution, and also to release all political detainees. And the voice of the UN pressure has got louder particularly since the beginning of the Saffron Revolution beginning from August 15,2007.

Mr Gambari holds the record of being the longest serving Ambassador/Permanent Representative of Nigeria to the United Nations from January 1990 to October 1999, having a degree of M.A. in 1970 and his Ph.D. in 1974, both in Political Science/International Relations from New York's Columbia University. He also served as President of the Security Council on two occasions (May 1994 and October 1995). He has chaired the UN Special Committee Against Apartheid, which has successfully seen the demise of the long-standing social injustice and the establishment of democratic rule in South Africa. Professor Gambari also chaired the UN Special Committee on Peace Keeping Operations from 1990-1999.

However, after the brutal crackdown by the Burmese military rulers on the biggest anti-junta protests for nearly 20 years, which was led by the Monks and which was known as "Saffron Revolution", the UN Chief Ban Ki-moon appointed Professor Gambari as an special envoy to Burma to assist "in the process of national reconciliation through dialogue." And since then, Professor Gambari has already paid two visits to Burma in his bid to bring a success to his agenda. But it appears that all his efforts are going to end in fiasco as the Burmese military rulers have been continuously defying all international outcries and they are still firing warning shots to let the United Nations and the international community know that it has no intention of caving into outside pressure for domestic political reform.

Most unfortunately, the 15-member Security Council of the UN has failed to adopt an unanimous resolution to compel the despotic regime to bow to international pressure and even to condemn the bloody crackdown on mass street protests in Burma which was spearheaded by the monks, due to stiff resistance from veto-wielding council members China and Russia. They have merely expressed "concern" about the government crackdown and called for "restraint." They deplored violence used against the peaceful demonstrators and stressed on the importance of early release of all political prisoners. They also reaffirmed "strong and unwavering" support for the Good Offices Mission of Mr Gambari and for early return to facilitate tangible results. It called on the Government and all parties concerned to work together towards a de-escalation of the situation and a peaceful solution, which are in fact, constrasted with expressions of global outrage.

Similarly, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) , which groups Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam, has been following a soft stance on Burma in line with its general policy of non-interference in domestic affairs, hoping that they would use its influence on the military rulers to persuade it for a peaceful transition to democracy and free political prisoners, including democracy icon Aung San Suu Kyi.

It is clear that Professor Gambari, during his two visits to Burma, could not bring any tangible result except some face-saving episodes like meeting Daw Aung San Suu Kyie who has spent 12 of the past 18 years under house arrest, meeting the army generals and releasing some local criminals and some Buddhist monks by
the regime.

On the other hand, the military regime has specifically outlawed Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and the UN involvement in the political process of Burma, saying openly in the wake of Mr Gambari's visit, "No assistance or advice from other persons is required " and this is a clear manifestation of bracketing of Mr Gambari and UN's role in the democratization process of Burma. And Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, Min Ko Naing, Rohingya leader U Kyaw Min, Shan leader Khun Ton Oo and all high profile political prisoners who have the courage to stare at the eyes of death without any fear, are still held under house arrest and in prisons. And most unfortunately, Min Ko Naing and his close colleagues who have been the instrumental in the Saffron Revolution are thrown into death row cells with murderers and killers, though they are high profile political detainees. And at the same time, the military regime has been continuing rounding up several thousand political activists, including the Buddhist monks and students.

Given the fact, the junta's hardline stance is crystal clear that they have the least intention to listen to what the international community says and they are determined to keep the people of Burma under the boot of the military with their usual slogan, "It is our internal affair(?)." and they will go ahead with their so-called path to political reform via their own "roadmap to democracy" which is in fact a blue-print for the army legitimising its grip on power after 45 years of unbroken military rule and where the head of the army will be the most powerful person in the country, with the ability to appoint key cabinet figures and suspend the constitution in the event of an emergency that he defines.

Under the above circumstances, it is clear that the Gambari Mission is poised to end in fiasco as there is no point so far which he could usher in a new ray of hope for the people of Burma.

The only thing which is happening to a significant level is that the world is becoming more and more aware about the plight of the people of Burma and consequently, they will express more anger over the sufferings of the people of Burma. And in order to pacify the anger of the international community, the UN will continue to send more high profile diplomats to Burma to persuade the army generals to end their atrocities while the Security Council which is believed to be the Custodian of World Peace, will continue to remain only "seized" with the matter of expressing "strong support" to the dispatch of the UN Envoys and also to deplore the military violence against the unarmed civilians, without taking any effective decision to find out a genuine solution to the decades-long problem, arguing that the Burma issue does not represent a threat to international peace and security.

On the other hand, the people of Burma will continue to born and die under the military reign of fear without any taste of peace and civic liberty in their life while the military rulers will continue their repressive reign forever as Alfred, Lord Tennyson said in his poem, "The Brook":

"For men may come and men may go,
But I go on for ever."


Ahmedur Rahman Farooq, Chariman, The Council for Restoration of Democracy in Burma (CRDB). Address: 2975, Vang i Valdres, Norway. Media Contact:+4797413036
Email: rohingyascrdbinf@gmail.com , crdbinfodept@yahoo.com

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A.Rahman Farooq2008-02-27 17:46:31
Ref: RHRC/B10/2008
Dated: Feb 10.2008

Change of Name:

With a view to further specify our political activities with our ethnic identity "Rohingya", the name of our existing organization,"The Council for Restoration of Democracy in Burma(CRDB)" has been changed into "Rohingya Human Rights Council(RHRC)" with unanimous decision. But our organizational structures as well as our objectives for the restoration of democracy in Burma, restoration of human rights of Rohingyas and restoration of Communal Harmony among all communities of Arakan particularly the Rohingyas and Rakhines, will remain unchanged. An online journal by name of "Rohingya Human Rights Review" will serve as the mouthpiece of our organization.

With thanks and best regards.

A. Rahman Farooq
Rohingya Human Rights Council (RHRC)
Address: 2975 Vang i Valdres, Norway
Contact: +4797413036
Email: rohingyas.rhrc@yahoo.com, rohingyas.rhrc@gmail.com

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