National League for Democracy No 97(B) West Shwegondine Street, Bahan Township, Rangoon
6th April 2010
“A Message to the People of Burma” (Unofficial Translation)
1. The National League for Democracy (NLD) was formed with a commitment to establish democratic system in Burma, which the people of Burma demanded unanimously during the 1988 nationwide pro-democracy uprising.
Since its inception, NLD has consistently tried to:
(1) Establish a true democratic government in Burma
(2) Fully achieve fundamental human rights
(3) Firmly lay the foundation of democracy to prevent the re-emergence of a dictatorial regime in the future
(4) Perpetuate the Union with equality among all ethnic nationalities
(5) Contribute for the peace in the world by improving the lives and development of the people and stability in the country of Burma
To achieve these afore-mentioned aims, the NLD leaders and members have tried to achieve national reconciliation, a necessary and fundamental requirement of democracy, through a great deal of sacrifices.
2. In the 1990 multi-party general election, NLD won 392 seats out of 485 contested seats. This was a mandate given by the people of Burma for the NLD to lead them toward a democratic society. Therefore, the Members of Parliament-elect of the NLD aimed to achieve national reconciliation, convene the Parliament, and solve the problems in Burma peacefully. Hoping to realize meaningful political dialogue with the regime, NLD leaders and its MPs attended the National Convention, held by then State Law and Order Restoration Council (SLORC), now called the State Peace and Development Council (SPDC). NLD MPs had participated in the National Convention process and tried hard to draft a democratic constitution. However, these attempts were not successful. SPDC refused to convene the Parliament with the elected MPs, and the rightful Parliament was never allowed to emerge.
3. Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, the leader of NLD, is deeply committed to solving the problems by peaceful means through meaningful dialogue. She has tried hard repeatedly to have a dialogue with the leaders of the military. She continues to call for a dialogue with the military regime while under house arrest. As soon as she was released from house arrest (in 1995 and 2000), she continued to call for dialogue.
Aung San Suu Kyi escaped an assassination attempt in the Depayin massacre in 2003. Even so, she didn’t consider revenge and continued to call for the military regime to establish a political dialogue. In 2009, she was again given a prison sentence when an American citizen, Mr. John Yettaw, arrived at her house unwelcomed. She still continued to call for the regime to meet and discuss for the interest of the country. In her latest letter to Senior General Than Shwe, Chairman of SPDC, she wrote that “she requests Senior General to grant a meeting to discuss for the lifting of economic sanctions”.
To sum up, numerous attempts by the NLD leaders, members, and MPs-elect to establish a system of democracy in Burma and for national reconciliation were obvious, fully recorded, and have been ignored by the SPDC, rendering their attempts unsuccessful.
4. Now, the SPDC issued a set of electoral laws, including the Election Commission Law, Political Parties Registration Law, Peoples’ Parliament Election Law, National Parliament Election Law, Region (or) State Parliaments Election Law, and by-laws, with the aim of holding elections in 2010. These laws are unjust, undemocratic and not in line with the basic characters of the law.
Throughout history, peoples have built their associations and societies based on justice. When we compared these laws with the society of the people of Burma, we found that these laws are obviously not free and fair for our society. They are not in line with principles of democracy, such as distributive justice, natural equality, and political equality. These laws also go against universal ethics. Furthermore, forcing parties to pledge to obey and abide the 2008 Constitution is a violation of democracy and human rights. These laws ignore the demands of an all-party inclusive election made by the UN Secretary-General and the international community.
5. Considering these facts, the Central Committee of the NLD met on March 29, 2010, and decided without objection that the NLD shall not re-register the party at the Election Commission, as the electoral laws issued by the SPDC are unfair and unjust.
6. Standing by the people, the NLD has made persevering efforts for the emergence of democracy and national reconciliation while enduring arrests, punishment, intimidation, disturbances and all sorts of restrictions by the authorities. Nevertheless, all these efforts were to no avail as a result of one-sided suppression and annihilation by the authorities. The NLD would like to sincerely and earnestly apologize to the people of Burma for these vain attempts.
7. However, the NLD will never turn its back on the people of Burma or on its struggle for democracy. We pledge to continue to achieve our goals for democracy through systematic, peaceful and nonviolent means, guided by Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, who said that “I would like to speak to the people of Burma that I will try as much as I can to continue an effort to achieve democracy in Burma.”
As per decision made by the Central Executive Committee meeting on April 5, 2010
Central Executive Committee
National League for Democracy