Advocates for the return of democracy in Burma here in the Philippines have all the reasons to feel victoriously in “cloud 9” after the Philippines finally delivered the tipping 9th vote favoring the inclusion of Burma in UN Security Council agenda.
Nine is indeed a lucky number.
“ Advocates for the return of democracy in Burma here in the Philippines have all the reasons to feel victoriously in “cloud 9” after the Philippines finally delivered the tipping 9th vote favoring the inclusion of Burma in UN Security Council agenda.”
Thus said Gus Miclat, convenor of the Free Burma Coalition-Philippines and regional coordinator of the Asia Pacific Solidarity Coalition (APSOC) referring to the Philippine government’s move to support international efforts to have Burma included in the UNSC agenda.
On Monday, President Gloria Macapagal voiced support for attempts to include Burma in the UNSC’s task. Arroyo reportedly made the announcement during the meeting on Friday between the leaders of the ASEAN 7 and United States President George W. Bush on the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) leaders’ summit. The Philippines is a non-permanent member of the Security Council till December.
On the same day, Nov. 21, Monday, 10:00 am, members of FBC-Phils and APSOC picketed the office of the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) in Manila and asked the Philippine government to support the said campaign for Burma.
“International pressure really works. To have Burma included in the agenda of the UNSC is long overdue, but it’s never too late. This move by the Philippine government was merely the right thing to do. We hope that they will stand firm on this and not retreat as they previously did after intense pressure from their cohorts in ASEAN,” Miclat said.
Meanwhile, reacting to reports that the Burmese junta has left Rangoon and transferred its offices virtually amidst the jungle, Miclat added, “The military junta had it coming. The “retreat” of the junta to the jungle and their withdrawal from the International Labor Organization plus their harsh treatment of the ILO representative in Burma are indications that the junta is indeed affected by international pressure. Now if the generals in Rangoon can’t stand the heat, we urge them to immediately get out of the kitchen.”
“Do Not Veto Campaign”
FBC and APSOC are now preparing for another campaign urging permanent members of the UNSC not to veto the inclusion of Burma in the Council’s agenda. They warned that some states that have strong bilateral relationships with Burma may veto the latter’s inclusion in the UN’s most powerful organ. China and Russia have been a consistent supporter of Burma at the UN.
“This should be the next step. The international community should closely guard the nine votes that they have right now but at the same time ensure that no one from the permanent members of the UNSC will veto this hard-earned victory. Justice must never be traded with fleeting economic and political interests. We appeal to all permanent members of the Council to simply take the moral high ground on Burma, At the minimum, they can just abstain if a vote comes to a head.” Miclat stressed.
“If one country chooses to veto this international effort, the setback will not be of the peoples of Burma but a defeat and an actual surrender of the UN and its Council’s supposed task to uphold international justice and principled democracy, “ Miclat ended.