Lawmakers from around the world have written a letter to the United Nations Security Council, urging the body to push for a resolution demanding political reforms in Burma.
More than 500 lawmakers from 34 countries signed the letter, which was sent to members of the United Nations Security Council and U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan this week.
The letter was initiated by a group of parliament members from countries in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations. They formed the ASEAN Inter-Parliamentary Myanmar Caucus in 2004 to push for democratic reforms in Burma. The group's executive secretary, Roshan Jason, says the letter calls for a binding resolution to address the problems in military-ruled Burma.
"Basically, we hope the U.N., first of all, tables [proposes] a strongly worded resolution on Burma, and we hope that the members of the United Nations Security Council pass that resolution to call for a lot more intervention, action, reprimandation of the military government, which has committed numerous human rights abuses," said Jason.
Jason says they originally wanted to send the letter 10 days ago, when Burma opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi celebrated her 61st birthday, but postponed it because more responses from lawmakers kept coming in. The head of Burma's opposition National League for Democracy is under house arrest and has spent about 10 years in detention since 1989.
Jason says international support for a U.N. resolution on Burma has grown in recent months, as the political situation in the country continues to deteriorate.
The letter says the U.N. Security Council should adopt a resolution that requires Burma's government to engage in genuine negotiations and begin a transition to democracy through a national reconciliation process.
Jason says the letter calls on the Security Council to address human rights abuses and non-democratic practices in Burma, and to press the Burmese leaders to reinstate the elected parliament and release Aung San Suu Kyi.
The military has ruled Burma for more than 40 years. The NLD won national elections in 1990, but was never allowed to govern, and most of its officers and many members have been imprisoned or forced into exile.