Myanmar’s promise to clean polls ‘ridiculous’

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AP) — Military-ruled Myanmar’s pledge to hold free and fair elections next year is “ridiculous”, a United Nations expert said Thursday, warning the international community not to believe the military regime’s propaganda to make it Legalization of domination.

Tom Andrews, the UN special rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Myanmar, said the military had been working to “create an impression of legitimacy” after taking over the government of civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi in February 2021.

“Frankly, any suggestion that Myanmar could hold free and fair elections in 2023 is absurd. If you lock down your opponent, you cannot have a free and fair election. If you put your opponent in You cannot have a free and fair election on death row. It is outrageous,” he told a news conference during a visit to Malaysia.

“Their propaganda machine is working around the clock and they will take whatever evidence they can find to make it appear as if the international community is acknowledging that they are legitimate. This is something we are very careful and very careful not to fall into that propaganda trap, ‘” Andrews added.

The army seizes power, citing widespread fraud in the 2020 election. It appointed new members of the coalition’s electoral committee, which said next year’s new multiparty polls would be free and fair.

Andrews said ASEAN must increase pressure on Myanmar’s military to stop the violence and release all political prisoners. He said ASEAN’s five-point consensus plan should be strengthened, including clear action and time frames.

“The five-point consensus is meaningless if it’s just sitting on a piece of paper,” he said. “The only chance it has an impact is to translate it into meaningful action through a strategy, action plan and time frame.”

Andrews praised Malaysia’s engagement with Myanmar’s opposition National Unity government, which was set up by elected lawmakers who were stripped of their seats in parliament by an army coup. He urged other countries to do the same, calling the NUG a “legitimate entity” fighting a brutal army.

He said the NUG could also provide resources for humanitarian aid to Myanmar so that the junta could not use aid as a “weapon of war”.

The military faces widespread opposition to its rule. After the military and police used deadly force to suppress peaceful demonstrations, low-level armed uprisings broke out in both urban and rural areas.

According to the Myanmar Political Prisoners Aid Association, more than 2,007 protesters and bystanders were killed in the junta’s crackdown, although the government estimates the death toll to be about a third.

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