MYANMAR:Forum of Myanmar’s civil society organisation damns stalled reforms

Sunday 19 October 2014

Date: 18 October 2014

Source: Mizzima

Type: News

Keywords: Myanmar CSO

More than 650 representatives of Myanmar’s civil society organisations came together for a forum of meetings in Yangon and to issue a damning report on their opinions over the country’s reform process.

In an October 18, press release from New York based advocacy group Human Rights Watch, Mr John Sifton, their Asia advocacy director said the transition process was narrow in its choice of actors.

“The transition process has excluded opposition actors, ethnic minority groups, and civil society,” said Mr Sifton.

He added the report describes Myanmar’s parliament as “no more than window-dressing,” although he said the group recognised the advances made in the early days of this administration, particularly in issues of political prisoners, censorship and surveillance, the process had now stalled.

In discussion, one steering committee member said, “In the first few years, people thought that freedom of expression was growing, but now it is under threat.”

The group were said by Mr Sifton to be pessimistic for the chances of real constitutional reform.

“Myanmar cannot be said to have genuine democracy, until the 2008 Constitution is amended and Parliament is fully elected by the people,” read the report.

Mr Sifton added the report was also critical of how the liberalisation of the country’s economy was failing to benefit many beyond Myanmar’s richest.

“The economy is in the hands of the army and its cronies,” Mr Sifton quoted one of the group’s leaders as saying.

Mr Sifton added that ethnic armed conflict and land grab issues were also among the topics highlighted in the report.###

See online : Mizzima

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