Trip Report 2008Still led by Senior General Than Shwe, Burma’s military junta remains as intransigent as ever - despite the succession of urgent resolutions by governments and others around the world.
A referendum is planned on the new Constitution for May 2008. But, typically for the Alice in Wonderland politics of Burma, it has not been revealed what exactly people will be voting about, or whether there is any good reason to be hopeful about promised elections in 2010. The auguries are not good, including a refusal to lift the ban on the leader of the National League for Democracy Aung San Suu Kyii from taking part.
The assassination of the General-Secretary of the Karen National Union, Padoh Mahn Sha Lah Phan, on February 14 this year has been a particular setback for the Karen and, argues Benedict Rogers of Christian Solidarity Worldwide “for the entire movement for democracy in Burma.” He sees the planned votes as nothing more than “a blatant attempt to rubber-stamp military rule”.