UN rejects request for Myanmar junta’s seat
The Associated Press
Friday, September 26, 2008
UNITED NATIONS: The U.N. General Assembly has rejected a request from the winners of Myanmar’s 1990 elections to replace representatives of the country’s current military junta at the United Nations, the U.N. said Friday.
The U.N.’s legal chief said credentials must be issued by a country’s head of state or government, or by the minister for foreign affairs.
The military has ruled Myanmar, also known as Burma, since 1962 and has been widely criticized for suppressing basic freedoms. The current junta, which took power in 1988 after crushing pro-democracy demonstrations, held general elections in 1990 but refused to cede power.
A Sept. 9 letter from candidates elected to parliament in 1990 challenged the legitimacy of the country’s military government.
Daw San San, vice president of the Members of Parliament Union (Burma), said in the letter to the U.N. Secretary-General that the organization has set up a permanent mission to the U.N. and appointed U Thein Oo as its permanent U.N. representative.
San said he “is instructed to represent the people of Burma and the legitimate, democratically elected members of parliament in all organs of the United Nations.”
U.N. spokeswoman Michele Montas said the U.N.’s legal chief, Patricia O’Brien, “has responded to the letter noting the secretary-general’s technical role in reviewing the formal criteria for credentials set forth in the General Assembly’s Rules of Procedure.”
O’Brien told the Parliament Union that “the General Assembly has decided not to take action on the letter he received as it does not comply with the formal legal requirement set out in rule 27 of those rules of procedure,” Montas said.
Rule 27 says credentials shall be issued by a country’s head of state or government, or by the minister for foreign affairs.
Aung San Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy party won the 1990 election, but the military refused to let Parliament convene. Suu Kyi has been detained for 13 of the past 19 years.