Myanmar’s authorities have a duty to show that their announced transfer of power from the long-ruling State Peace and Development Council to a new Government is more than a change in name and a genuine move away from military rule, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said today.
“Responding to the long-standing aspirations of the Myanmar people for national reconciliation, democratization and respect for human rights remains essential to laying the foundations for durable peace and development in the country,” he said in a statement issued by his spokesperson.
“The Myanmar authorities now have an opportunity and, indeed, an obligation to their people, to demonstrate that this change is one of substance and that it is the start of a genuine move away from almost 50 years of direct military rule,” he added.
Mr. Ban called on the authorities to engage in an inclusive dialogue “with all relevant parties on broad reforms necessary for the development of a credible system of government that can effectively address the political and socio-economic challenges facing Myanmar.”
He pledged the UN’s continued commitment to work with all relevant actors toward building a “stable and fully democratic future in which all the people of Myanmar can contribute.”
Last month Mr. Ban took note of the newly-convened Parliament’s election of a new president and vice-presidents and voiced hope that the move marked the beginning of a change from the status quo.
Mr. Ban has long been involved in seeking to ease the South-East Asian country’s transition to democracy. At the time of elections last year, he warned that the vote was unsatisfactory because of the exclusion of some parties, including that of Nobel Peace Prize laureate and pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi.
Her National League for Democracy (NLD) won the last elections, later invalidated by the country’s rulers, two decades ago but was barred from participating this time. For much of the past 20 years she was held under house arrest before being released in November last year. At that time Mr. Ban called for the release of all remaining political prisoners and highlighted the need to include in the transition al those who were excluded from the elections.