UN Rights Envoy: Burma Needs Constitutional Change

Myanmar constitutional reform, Burma constitution amendment, Tomas Ojea Quintana

UN human rights envoy for Burma Tomas Ojea Quintana speaks to reporters following a meeting with Burmese opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi in February 2012. (Photo: The Irrawaddy)

RANGOON — The UN human rights envoy to Burma on Saturday expressed concern over the military’s veto power on constitutional changes, which he said are crucial for the country’s democratic transition and next year’s elections.

Special Rapporteur Tomas Ojea Quintana, who is completing his six-year term this month, said in a statement that the military’s power to block constitutional amendments did not augur well for the 2015 elections. He said there must be civilian oversight over the military.

The 2008 Constitution, drawn up under the previous junta regime, gives the military a mandatory 25 percent parliamentary seats, which is enough to veto any constitutional change and disqualify pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi from running for president.

“Constitutional reform in Myanmar is a crucial step in the transition to a more democratic nation,” Quintana said.

Suu Kyi considers the current constitution undemocratic and boycotted the 2010 elections. However, she ran in by-elections in 2012 after changes were made in election laws and won a seat in the lower house of Parliament.

The Nobel laureate has been holding rallies to gain public support and to convince the military and the government to amend the Constitution.

An article in the Constitution says anyone whose spouse or children owes allegiance to a foreign power cannot become president or vice president. Suu Kyi’s sons are British nationals.

Several other provisions are also under scrutiny for revision, and some proposed changes would strengthen self-government in regions of the country dominated by ethnic minorities.

Burma emerged from a half-century of military rule in 2011, when former Gen. Thein Sein took office as an elected president.

3 Responses to UN Rights Envoy: Burma Needs Constitutional Change

  1. Everyone knows that. The cry for constitutional change cannot be ignored by the regime. If it just ignores it, regime will surely pay the price. Millions, not thousands, of people will stand up against regime to demand which they have been asking for the past many years. The current bogus constitution was not designed to serve democracy but to allow the military dictators to rule the nation eternally. Army hlutdaw and Thein Sein administration will be forced to to end in order to have genuine democratic constitution and government. The people are ready to take action against military regime. Unwanted regime is now surrounded by lovers of democracy from East and West, and from North and South. Myanmar people do not like this regime and the ethnics do not like it too. So, regime has no real friends.

  2. Real CHANGE is important for Burma ( Myanmar ). Undemocratic constitution cannot stay forever. Having Military Veto Power in the parliament is not justify and undemocratic. Military Chief must know that federalism is not to make break away policy from the Union. Central Government must hold Finance, Foreign and defense ministries. Budget should allocated in accordance with the projects planned. State Government or Regional Government cannot be allowed to demand revenue off handed, there should be approval PROJECTS from parliament. Then it is in need to CHANGE whole country system.

  3. So this is the game. Getting out the most credible UN employee to sing for the same song and publish the story widely.

    Nargis A-yuu-chee-pan writings are not even a credible constitution but shameless cowardly fantasy cartoon piece which was indeed endorsed by none other than Aung San Suu Kyi herself following 18th August 2011 “Family Dinner” with her “family”.

    Now the word is that the American companies need her as a figure head as a insurance policy to put money in the country with only aim of looting the resources now only done by the Chinks, and getting traditional farmers off their ancestral lands into wage earning factory hands mired in strike/ depression/ unemployed/ slavery cycle with trade unions as the ultimate gods. The little time-bombs!!!!!!

    If the public of Burma thinks getting this woman is the answer for their own salvation, they do deserve to wallow in labor camps in drugged state which surely will be their fate.

    Changing the title of who put you in hell does not make hell any cooler.

    Only answer is to get rid off the Sit-tut criminals and stand on your own feet. Not being enslaved by the lovely, kind savior “West”.

    From the frying pan into the fire!

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