New Delhi - Activists on Thursday urged leaders of the Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC) to review and suspend the membership of Burma for its continued violation of the rights of its own citizens.
Burma Centre Delhi (BCD), a group working to promote human rights and democracy in Burma, in a memorandum to leaders of BIMSTEC, urged the grouping to suspend the membership of Burma's military junta, saying having them as a member decreases the credibility of the grouping.
"The continued human rights violations by Burma's military junta are a disgrace for the grouping," Dr. Alana Golmei, coordinator of the BCD told Mizzima.
"As Indians, we urged India to stand by the democratic principles that our national fathers – Gandhi and Nehru – laid down," Golmei added.
Golmei said, with the regional group aiming to work together towards stability, peace and development, having a gross human rights violator as a member is a shame and contradictory to its objectives.
Burma's military government, which is listed among the worst human rights violators in the world, proved its disregard to BIMSTEC's prestige and objectives towards peace and dignity by sentencing 14 student activists to 65 year prison terms on the very day that BIMSTEC inaugurated its 2nd summit in New Delhi on November 11, BCD said in its memorandum.
"This is undeniable proof that the SPDC has ignored the basic human rights called for by the United Nations and International community," the group said, referring to the junta by its official name – State Peace and Development Council (SPDC).
As for India, Golmei said its policy towards Burma is 'contradictory' and is against the principles on which India stands.
"India should know that it is the largest democracy and should show some self respect so as not to deal with the Burmese military junta," Golmei stated.
Meanwhile, a group of Burmese pro-democracy activists in New Delhi on Thursday held a protest rally calling on India to refuse the visit of Burmese Prime Minister Thein Sein, who is attending the BIMSTEC summit.
About 50 Burmese activists shouted slogans against Thein Sein and burnt a large poster of him in protest against his visit.
According to the rotating system of BIMSTEC, Burma will assume chairmanship of the organization in 2009 from the India.
Dr. Golmei emphasized, that allowing a murderous military regime to take over the chairmanship of the group will discredit the group.
"Other members should not allow Burma to be their chairman in 2009," she said.