40 Border based civil society organisations send open letter to Aung San Suu Kyi

The streets of Mae Sot. Photo: Faces of Mae Sot

40 border based civil society organisations (CSOs) have sent an open letter to Aung San Suu Kyi calling for the restoration of their original Myanmar citizenship and to let them participate in the transition to a federal democratic country.

The Thai-Myanmar border based CSOs sent the letter to Aung San Suu Kyi on July 25.

Spokesperson for the CSOs, Saw Alex, said that they made a primary demand in the letter asking for them to be allowed to operate in Myanmar and delisting those who are working for human rights and social work from a blacklist made by the former government and to officially release the names of delisted persons who were formerly blacklisted.

“These border based CSOs were engaged in anti-junta work. We don’t know to what extent our people are on the blacklist. As we don’t know about the blacklist we face a lack of security and obstacles if we work in Myanmar. So we made this demand and want the new government to do something for us in this regard,” he said.

Under the rule of previous Thein Sein government, CSOs working in Myanmar faced a ban on issuing statements, holding meetings, and also faced harassment. These continue even after the first 100 days of the new government taking office, he added.

“Some of our people hold foreign passports. When they applied for Myanmar visas they were told their applications were rejected because of the blacklist. The embassy said to them we cannot grant a visa as you have criticised the government on human rights violations and your name was on the blacklist. Some were given visas the first time but were rejected on subsequent visa applications. Some have never been given visas. So we see the NLD to abolish this system and they should create an environment which is more open for us,” he added.

He said they sent the open letter because they wanted the new government to do something to allow them to participate in the promotion of human rights, the peace process, national reconciliation and building a federal state.

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