DEMANDS IMMEDIATE RESPONSE
BY ASEAN FOR VICTIMS OF CYCLONE NARGIS
We, concerned ASEAN Thai NGOs, civil society groups and migrant worker associations, are perturbed by the failure of the Burmese government to provide prompt and immediate response to the victims of cyclone Nargis and the tidal surge, which hit Burma on 3rd May 2008, and to date, have caused the death of more than 100 thousand persons and has rendered millions of families homeless. A prompt and immediate response would have saved so many lives and prevented unnecessary further sufferings. We cannot accept this government sponsored crimes against humanity.
In the two weeks that have passed, only a small minority of the victims have received any form of assistance.
People continue to die from dehydration, lack of food, and infections of the injuries sustained by reason of lack of medical care.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) has also warned, that if conditions remain the same, soon water-borne diseases will wipe out huge sections of the affected people. This is totally unacceptable.
The international community did immediately offer assistance to people of Burma but the Burmese-SPDC government has generally denied access. The junta refused to issue visas for emergency relief workers, and this has impeded the flow of aid into the country to the victims of the calamity. While aid is prevented entry, more lives are lost unnecessarily.
While professing to be capable of handling the situation themselves, the SPDC government, till this day, has yet to mount even a proper search and rescue operation. They have also not installed any effective system to reach the persons and families in dire need of assistance.
The actions and omissions of the SPDC continue to result in unnecessary and, definitely, avoidable death and suffering of human persons and families.
ASEAN, being the body of governments representing the people of ASEAN, has the duty and responsibility to protect lives and “the high quality of life of its people” [ASEAN Charter, Article 1, Purpose No9 ]. Myanmar (Burma) is a member of ASEAN. ASEAN has, to date, sadly also failed to do enough to effectively fulfill its responsibility to the people of ASEAN, the victims of this natural disaster in the Irrawaddy delta.
It should not be forgotten that the ASEAN, and all the member states, are also now responsible for the loss of life and the additional sufferings brought about by the actions of SPDC-government that prevented necessary aid and assistant reaching the victims of cyclone Nargis .
We, urge ASEAN, and ASEAN member countries, -
· To ‘walk the talk’ and immediately fulfill its duty, declared obligation and responsibility to protect the people of ASEAN, especially the millions of people affected by Cyclone Nargis.
· To compel the SPDC government of Myanmar to immediately remove all existing impediments to enable the free and speedy flow of aid to the victims and their families, especially to the most affected and still neglected areas.
· To do all that is necessary to obtain an immediate response from the Burmese government, which may include but not limited to the cutting of all diplomatic ties with Myanmar and the immediate expulsion of Myanmar from the ASEAN.
· To immediately do all that is necessary, in the event that the Burmese government continues to fail in its obligations, to immediately get aid to the affected persons and families in the Irrawaddy delta, to prevent any further loss of human life.
We also call on ASEAN Secretariat to urgently address the abovementioned issues at the ASEAN Foreign Ministers emergency meeting in Singapore on 19 May 2008.
Ko Ko Aung
for and on behalf of the
Action Network for Migrants (Thailand) – ANM
For further information contact:-
Pranom Somwong; Telephone +60192371300
Adisorn Kerdmongkonl; Telephone +6687887138
Ko Ko Aung; Telephone +66869958119