Southeast Asian human-rights groups have launched a petition campaign to stop Burma from chairing the Association of Southeast Asian Nations in 2006.
Sixteen activist groups, including Altsean Burma and Forum Asia, have sent a joint letter to leaders of ASEAN countries, demanding that Burma be disqualified as the bloc's chair.
The rights groups say ASEAN's credibility would be threatened if Burma assumes leadership of ASEAN, not only because of the Rangoon military government's human-rights violations, but also its record of economic mismanagement and sanctioned drug production.
Although Burma has frequently pledged to carry out economic and political reforms, the groups say all of those promises to ASEAN have been broken.
ASEAN's members are Burma, Malaysia, Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.