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USDP Constitution Maintains Junta's Policies

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The formation of the Union Solidarity and Development Party is “due to the call of history,” according to its constitution.


The formation of the Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP) is “due to the call of history,” according to the USDP constitution, which was released in May.

The Irrawaddy obtained a copy of the USDP's 81-page constitution which detailed its policies of how to govern the country if the party should dominate the upcoming election.

The entire document is designed to support the 2008 Constitution. The USDP vows to support the “legal binding that no party of the country must ever secede from the Union” and describes it as the first priority of the party's “National Policies.”

The policy mirrors Article 10 of the 2008 Constitution which reads: “No part of the territory constituted in the Union such as Regions, States, Union Territories and Self-Administered Areas shall ever secede from the Union.”

In its political agenda, the USDP states: “In accord with the human rights adopted in the Charter of the United Nations, the party will conduct the promotion and spread of human rights.”

The USDP was formed by the incumbent Prime Minister Thein Sein and other ministers of the junta's government, under which Burma has been ranked as one of the worst countries in its gross human rights violations in the past two decades.

Under military rule, many pro-democracy activists have been arrested and sentenced to  long-term imprisonment for the distribution of small booklets of the United Nations Human Rights Decleration, which was officially printed by Rangoon-based UN agencies.

The USDP was originally a spin-off of the Union Solidarity and Development Association (USDA). In its 17-year history, the USDA engaged in political violence against opposition politicians and groups, including extra-judiciary killings, arrests and gang attacks on pro-democracy activists in public areas.

The most infamous example was the Depayin incident in which USDA members and its militia wing Swan Arr Shin attacked supporters of the pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi with bamboo spears and other lethal weapons.

The party vows to build the capacity of the Tatmadaw [the military] to defeat enemies domestically and internationally, based on “Political might, Economic Might and Military Might,” according to the defense policies of the party's constitution.   

Critics said that this policy reflects the fact that the USDP was designed to protect the interest of the current military regime, including military-owned economic assets and its recently revealed ambition to possess nuclear weapons.

The USDP regards the role of the media as the fourth pillar of government after the three pillars of legislative, executive and judiciary. However, the party qualifies the “freedom of press” concept and instead says that media must be for the “national interest.”

In recent years, domestic media has increasingly faced harsh restrictions imposed by the junta's press censorship board, and can not express critical opinions about the registered political parties and their policies, and many other aspects of Burmese life.

On the other hand, observers said, the USDP unfairly enjoys campaigning through its state-controlled media which has extensively covered the USDP leaders' state inspection tours to various development projects across the country.

Regarding farmers, who constitute70 percent of the total population, the USDP promotes a policy of “the right to work on their farmland” but denies farmers “the right to own their farmland.”

Critics say that such a policy, which has been practiced for at least half a century in Burma, partially accounts for the lack of improvement in farmers' socio-economic life.



Nyan_win80"Once her [Aung San Suu Kyi's] sentence expires in November, and that notion is not disputed, it is our understanding that she will have served her sentence."
—Nyan Win, the foreign minister of Burma


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