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Parliament condemns US blacklisting of Aung Thaung

Aung Thaung (PHOTO: VH Project)

Burma’s lower house of parliament unanimously passed an emergency proposal on Monday denouncing the United States for blacklisting senior Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP) member Aung Thaung, who was also a leading figure in Burma’s previous military regime.

Ba Shein, a lower-house MP and member of the Rakhine National Party, said the bill passed the lower house without any objections.

“I think no one bothered to object because everyone knows it wouldn’t make a difference [as the proposal would have passed anyways] considering the US has blacklisted one of the USDP’s most prominent members,” said Be Shein.

“However, while it might be justifiable for the parliament to denounce the blacklisting if the US targeted [Aung Thaung] as a member of parliament, we believe the sanction is directed against Aung Thaung as an individual, so it’s unnecessary for the legislature to get involved.”

The US Treasury Department on 31 October blacklisted Aung Thaung, who represents Mandalay’s Taungtha Township, for attempting to undermine recent economic and political reforms in Burma and his involvement in attacks on democracy advocates.

The proposal denouncing the US was put forward by an MP from the military-backed USDP, which controls both houses of parliament thanks to a constitutional provision which says that 25 percent of all seats must be held by military figures.