Burma Update – New Government – Same Dictatorship

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On Wednesday, Burma’s dictator, Than Shwe, officially disbanded the State Peace and Development Council, the body through which Burma’s dictators have ruled the country since 1997.  The new President, Thein Sein, was sworn in.
However, the changes are more about rebranding than reform. Dictatorship remains alive and well in Burma, guaranteed by a new Constitution and a new political structure. 
The new government is the final stage in the regime’s so-called ‘roadmap to democracy’, following the sham election last November. In reality, it is a transition from military to civilian dictatorship. The new parliament has no real power. Real power still lies firmly with the military and a new all-powerful body, the National Defence and Security Council. 
This is history repeating itself. Burma’s first dictatorship began in 1962, led by General Ne Win. Ne Win also introduced a new constitution through a rigged referendum and rubber-stamp parliament.
The real facts on the ground are that there are no new freedoms, that human rights abuses continue, and that those ruling Burma clearly have no intention of introducing any genuine reforms to improve human rights or move towards democracy.
For more details, read our press release here.
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