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No to Burma

Dear Sir:

A ccording to your report "Phnom Penh set to revive ties with

Rangoon," (Phnom Penh Post Feb11-24) the Royal Government of Cambodia (RGC)

seems very eager to re-establish diplomatic relations with Burma. It is

obviously a very good thing for the RGC and for the Kingdom of Cambodia to have

diplomatic relations with as many countries in the world as possible. And it is

a matter of course for the Kingdom of Cambodia and Burma which used to have

friendly relations in the past to resume such ties.

However, the

establishment of diplomatic relations with Burma at this particular juncture is

inappropriate to say the least. It would mean the approval of the military junta

in Rangoon who has shamelessly broken its promises to relinquish power to any

democratically elected party, and imposed its repressive rule on the Burmese

people. In order to cling on to power it has put under house arrest Aung San Su

Kyi, the leader of the party that had won the elections and now a Nobel Peace

Prize Winner, and thrown in jail others who dare oppose its rule.

The

Burmese people are denied all freedom and are persecuted. many have fled their

country. Some who have the chance to be outside the country cannot speak freely

about the true situation of their country lest the military junta would deny

them the right to return to their homeland and/or take punitive actions against

their relatives. Records of the violations of human rights by the military junta

in Rangoon abound and that junta's name stinks around the world.

The

Cambodian people know very well what living under oppression is like.

Fortunately, thanks to their own efforts and to the help of the international

community they have gained freedom, human rights and democracy. The Kingdom of

Cambodia now fully and unreservedly commit itself to these values. It has signed

all international instruments on human rights, and has truly and proudly become

a champion, if not the champion, of human rights in the world. Furthermore, it

has established a government department to promote the rights of

women.

How could a nation who had broken the heart of humankind because

of its tragedy now turn heartless towards the Burmese nation and intend to

recognize and establish diplomatic ties with the military junta who is

repressing it? The Cambodia people ought to extend its sympathy if not

assistance to their suffering Burmese brothers and sisters. They must not reward

their oppressors in Rangoon. The democratically elected RGC should not establish

diplomatic ties with the military junta. Any such establishment would run

counter to the Kingdom's newly regained status.

- Tam Navabotr

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