Burma Democratic Concern (BDC) New Year Resolution For 2015
After unilaterally held rigged election in 2010, U Thein Sein’s regime come into power, unprecedented measures were taken including releasing political prisoners and giving some freedom. After 2011, National League for Democracy (NLD) contested by-elections and Daw Aung San Suu Kyi entered the parliament. Burma is now believed to be transition from Dictatorship to Democracy and Development.
But, Burma is still not very much changed. Inflation, unemployment, shortage of electricity, many decades old infrastructures, deforestation, environmental problems, corruption, civil war, and conflicts are major challenges still pending to be addressed.
Three institutions must be reformed to promote good governance: the state, the private sector and civil society so as to have accountability, transparency, respecting rule of law, responsive, equitable and inclusive, effective and efficient, and participatory. The way that Burmese government operates and delivers services to the citizens must be reformed.
The Burmese military must accept the authority of civilian governments and must retreat from economic and politics. Old dictatorial practices of directly appointing active-duty military officers or retired military officers in governmental departments must be stopped.
The military-business nexus such as the Myanmar Economic Corporation (MEC) and the Union of Myanmar Economic Holdings Limited (UMEHL) or their sub-entities must be transferred back to civilian control. Burmese military must be reformed to uphold international human rights and humanitarian law so as to evolve into a respected and a non-political institution.
A country cannot be truly democratic until its citizens have the opportunity to choose their representatives through elections that are free and fair. Free and fair elections play a critical role by advancing democratization and encouraging political liberalization. Critical development efforts cannot succeed without a legitimate and democratically elected government that is responsive and accountable to its citizens. Elections provide an important opportunity to encourage political liberalization.
For an election to be free and fair, certain civil liberties, such as the freedoms of speech, association and assembly, are required. Electoral processes offer political parties and civic groups an opportunity to mobilize and organize supporters and share alternative platforms with the public. Elections also serve to encourage political debate and public dialogue. Fundamental electoral rights cannot be divorced from election processes, procedures and institutions. Election monitoring can improve the quality of elections.
It is very important to have the functioning parliament in Burma which is an essential part of flourishing democracy. Burma needs to address land and property rights and government must return all confiscated lands to rightful owners.
Corruption is endemic in Burma and posing one of the most serious challenges to the reform process, democratization, and economic liberalization. Transparency and accountability in matters of public finance must also be promoted and limit the effects of Dutch Disease.
The Police Force must be reformed so as to effectively exercise safeguarding rule of law. Respecting rule of law must be fundamental of all reforms and all oppressive laws must be replaced with democratic laws. Judiciary must be independent to strengthen the rule of law.
About 90% of the Burmese people follow Theravada Buddhism. With the arrival of Buddhism, Burma underwent major changes in various phases of her life especially in language, culture, art, literature, and civilisation. Buddhism has played an important role in unifying the people of Burma that ultimately brought the racial groups into one united whole under one religious banner.
Buddhist monks’ rights to vote are ignored in junta’s 2008 constitution but Buddhist monks should have the voting rights in Burma. Burmese culture, a sense of deep history and a largely inward-looking national perspective, can be indirectly contributed for the growth of Burma’s economy if not directly.
To sustain national security, particular attention must be given to the Arakan State which shares border with Bangladesh. Burmese see anyone calling for to amend Burmese Citizenship Law as the act of infringing Burma’s sovereignty.
International community should increase more direct engagement with the Burmese government, as well as broader societal groups, to improve the practical framework for human rights protection, poverty alleviation and working to achieve sustainable development but pressure must be kept to end all human rights abuses and permit democracy as well as to offset China’s influence over Burma.
The principled engagement combines pressure for reform with positive support, typically through a mix of advocacy, technical cooperation and financial support, as well as programs aimed at empowering local agents of change. For successful re-engagement, Burma needs to implement comprehensive economic and political reforms that are characterized by human-centred, rights respecting, sustainable, inclusive, and balanced economic growth.
Sanctions inevitably infringe Burmese people right to development due to the spillover effect and reputation risk.
Development is the Human Rights and belongs to everyone. In 1986, the United Nations General Assembly adopted the Declaration on the Right to Development which defines right to development as economic, social, cultural and political development.
Effective and long-term human rights protection in Burma can be achieved through by establishing democracy and the rule of law. Democracy is necessary to ensure efficiency, transparency and accountability of government. In turn, the establishment and maintenance of democracy and the rule of law depend on flourishing civil societies.
The protection of human rights depends on establishing democracy and respecting rule of law, and they are in turn depends on an active civil society. Supporting to flourish civil societies is essential for an effective and long-term protection of human rights.
The UN Declaration on Human Rights in 1998 affirms the right of everyone to work for the protection of human rights. Defending the defenders is something everyone can participate. Women participation in every aspect of daily lives should be promoted. Political change is important to economic reform and banking reform is central to Burma’s economic progress.
Burma needs developing effective formulas for ethnic equality. There are more than 135 different ethnic groups in Burma and the seven ethnic states make up approximately 60 percent of the national territory. Government must protect and promote ethnic rights such as language, culture and environment.
In order to achieve national reconciliation in Burma, peace between the Government and ethnic minorities is essential. Citizens and CSOs participation play vital role to make, to build and to safeguard peace realities in Burma. Burma needs genuine political wills on all sides so as to achieve genuine peace while cultivate nurturing pragmatic leadership, dialogue culture, and tolerance towards differences.
If Burma can foster policies to human capital investment and then it can support economic growth strategies which can create national wealth.
Everyone participation is essential so as to work achieving structural changes from the bottom up while the pragmatic leaders must work pushing reform from the top down.
In conclusion, it could be true to articulate that the relationships between democratisation, development and poverty reduction in Burma are interrelated and interdependent each other which require concerted effort of everyone.