Time in Myanmar BurmaMyanmar Burma Time
It' time for Myanmar to join the Commonwealth
In 1948, Myanmar lost its Commonwealth status when it adopted a constituent treaty after it gained sovereignty over the British. By the 1949 London Declaration, a state had to be a dominion (nominally under the crown) to join the Commonwealth. Myanmar was a year too early at the time.
However, today, as Myanmar is beginning to integrate into the global population, its recent passage under the National League for Democracy represents an appropriate time in the country's recent past to consider becoming a member of the Commonwealth of Nations. Firstly, accession to the Commonwealth would enhance the credence of the NLD regime's engagement in consolidating and protecting respect for fundamental freedoms and good government in Myanmar.
Myanmar will be a member of the Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group (CMAG) and Commonwealth INGOs such as the Commonwealth of Humane rights Initiative (CHRI). While the former adheres to the Harare Declaration, which endorses "democratic trials and institutes.... the constitutional state and the autonomy of the justice system, a just and just government", the latter carries out investigations into the violation of fundamental freedoms, which support the CMAG's suspending antidemocraticimes.
In particular, Commonwealth memberships will also indicate the willingness of the new democratically chosen government to "block" subsequent government into a unilateral process of democratization. By imposing a number of penalties that the Commonwealth can decide, which include the expulsion of misguided aid program frameworks or even the suspending of actual memberships (as observed on several occasions), Myanmar's Commonwealth will increase the costs of prospective government that blatantly violates international humanitarian law, fails to uphold minimum levels of good government or, even more serious, undermines the countrys Democratic process (i.e. its returning to military rule).
In this way, Commonwealth memberships can increase the trust of local audiences and multinational monitors in Myanmar's engagement for undemocratic government. As well as development aid (from public sector reform to enhancing the autonomy of the judiciary in Myanmar), the Commonwealth is able to empower Burma's civilian community by enhancing its ability to participate in a government.
Commonwealth Foundation promotes and promotes actions that can help promote a healthier and more educated community among the voters of Burma, such as business organisations, faith and culture, non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and labor groups. Recognising that a multi-stakeholder commitment is required for good, reactive, transparent as well as responsible government, the Foundation is expected to promote partnership, facilitating open consultation and building consent to enhance development results in Myanmar.
She can also support Burma's civic organisations (CSOs) in the development of their agenda, while at the same time identify and make available the institution platform (e.g. ministers' meeting, summit and working groups) to move these agenda forward. Mobilizing Burma's civic community in policy-making and policymaking will in the long term promote relevancy to community needs, use tribal expertise to address community issues and use community funds to improve the operating capacity of community development programs.
If good government is pursued, even the Commonwealth can be used by civic stakeholders to address deficits in democracy when the country joins the Commonwealth. In 2005, for example, the CSOs were already effective in moderating the Ugandan elite authority trends by urging the Ugandan government to relax the NGO involvement rule in community leadership when the CSOs challenged Uganda's ability (in relation to political references) to hold the 2007 Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM).
Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni was forced to calm down the representatives of the world' s leading representatives of civic life at the summit in Malta and even agreed to the EU' s NGOs' efforts to lobby during CHOGM in Kampala. The Commonwealth is essentially made up of trans-national grass-roots groups of non-state players, which include trade organisations and social organisations committed to the standards and commonwealth principles.
These non-state players, together with the Member States, create aspirations that legitimise certain commonwealth democracy ideas and practice. This ongoing conflict with Commonwealth standards will encourage Myanmar to adhere to an acceptable codes of ethics that limit the means by which Myanmar's elite can follow their policy and objectives.
Commonwealth standards and standards can be used as behavioral principals through socialisation, whose ethical authorities go beyond the selfish aspirations of the elite. Above-hour, the Republics transition to democracy will mirror the changes in indigenous identities in accordance with the pro-normal Commonwealth standards as a consequence of the feeling of affiliation and well-being resulting from the country's compliance with the Commonwealth's aspirations and growing comforts.
In contrast to a treaty-based organisation like the European Union (EU), the lack of a firm undertaking to adhere to the Commonwealth priniciples seems to make Myanmar's membership of the "voluntary union of sovereign free states" more appetizing to Myanmar's militarist elite (who are afraid that mandatory democracy laws could diminish their clouds of politics and destabilise the country's democratically transition).
The Commonwealth's diverse interstate affiliation (excluding the United States and most EU countries) and its consensus-based approaches to global decision-making prevent the Commonwealth from becoming a tool for fostering a modern West ideology that is foreign to the area. Indeed, the Commonwealth's 52 members are compromised and generally opposed to universally recognising common ground on people.
The most striking is that the Singapore School, representing a general Asiatic exceptionality in terms of respect for people' s right to life, evolution and government, has become increasingly important in the rejection of the universal nature of Liberalism. Myanmar can join the Commonwealth of Nations without worrying that it will embark on an inadequate West African democratization for its people.
Secondly, accession to the Commonwealth should also strengthen the trust of minority peoples in the peacemaking world. The Commonwealth is committed to the equal rights of the races and is proud of its inclusive, pluralistic, non-racist and multi-religious nature, which has fostered confidence-building and inter-religious comprehension between different nations and societies. The members "recognize the prevalence of colour prejudices and intoxication as a hazardous disease that threatens the health evolution of the entire population and that racist discriminations are an undiminated evils of society" (as strongly formulated in the Singapore Declaration of 1971).
Myanmar's Commonwealth accession would mean that the governing elite would "oppose all form of..... racist oppression" and accept "equal access and opportunity for all people, regardless of race"..... Demonstrateing her readiness to face the worldwide pressure from civic organizations (on the order of a Commonwealth anti-apartheid boycott against South Africa) to correct blatant ethnical discriminations, Aung San Suu Kyi, Myanmar's de facto ruler, will send a message to both national and non-governmental public that she is ready to tackle the destitution of Rohingya Muslims, rather than remain quiet.
Suu Kyi can also aim for the Secretary-General's good services during this delicate period of transformation, which will be provided by the country's accession to improve mutual comprehension and civil-military ties between the army, NLD elite and indigenous leader. Simultaneously, a lasting peaceful solution also involves a lasting arrangement that institutionalises the participation in government (and power).
This can encourage ethnically based groups, the Kachin Independence Army included, which have not yet signed the National Ceasefire Agreement, to do so after more than six centuries of warfare. Third, as Myanmar opens up commercially, the Commonwealth of Myanmar can provide the research, knowledge and capabilities it needs to make business headway.
For example, the Commonwealth Fund for Technological Cooperation (CFTC) can help Myanmar integrate into the world trading system by providing technology and expertise to improve trading and competitive performance. The Commonwealth Enterprise and Investment Council (CWEIC) can also help the country's authorities to use the skills of the civil society to promote the development of infrastructure, in particular information and communications technology (ICT).
CWEIC, together with improving the accessibility of funds and promoting intra-Community commerce, can help Myanmar make headway towards an efficient free enterprise world. Burma can also profit from the "Commonwealth factor" (an asset derived from largely similar jurisdictions, administration procedures and institutions), which is said to represent trading and investing profits of 10 to 15 per cent in the economic sectors within the Commonwealth.
Over the long term, the Commonwealth Bussiness Net should increase job rotation and promote substantial remittances to Myanmar, increase the Human Access Index (HDI) and advance the Republic's Millennium Access Goals (MDGs). With Third World countries dominating the Commonwealth with overwhelming domination and the five members of the First Worlds hardly hegemony, Myanmar can be sure that it will not face either commercial estrangement or a neoliberal war against its self-determined path to prosperity.
In contrast to the Bretton Woods institutes, the Commonwealth has never been particularly ideologically in the spirit of a neoliberal calendar. Indeed, the Commonwealth's business discourse is largely on the side of the pragmatist (e.g. promoting private-public partnership, training and ICT developments). Commonwealth memberships are not an answer to all Myanmar's issues.
Yet it can make a major impact on Myanmar's solution by acting as a precious catalyser in fostering friendships and hands-on collaboration around the planet. Since Myanmar is striving to become a "normal" state, joining a number of intergovernmental organisations is a foreseeable move towards full participation in the free state. The Commonwealth of Nations, deeply entrenched in smooth regionalist attitudes, low policy and networking patriotism, seems to be Myanmar's "deeply suspended fruit" in its possible election of organisational members.
Overall concern about the Rohingya war in Myanmar, however, seems to be the main obstacle to the Republic's possible entry into the Commonwealth. Prematurely, Suu Kyi may consider the benefits of Commonwealth citizenship for the domestic peacemaking processes if she is primarily divided over the supposed Rohingya Muslim massacre.
In the Rohingya conflict, if Myanmar is to become a member of the Commonwealth, Suu Kyi must show the race inclusion, openness and civic responsibility that are essential to the basic tenets of the Commonwealth before Myanmar aspires to universal support as a candidate for the Commonwealth of Nations.