News and Reports
Aung San Suu Kyi‘s Detention Extended Again
Burmas brutal military dictatorship today defied calls from the UN, USA, EU and ASEAN to release Aung San Suu Kyi, instead extending her detention under house arrest. Her latest period of detention was due to expire on May 27th. As of today Aung San Suu Kyi has spent a total of 11 years and 213 days in detention.
Last week, 59 world political leaders including former UK Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, and former US President Bill Clinton, wrote to Than Shwe, the dictator of Burma, calling for Aung San Suu Kyi’s release.
The regime is confident it can defy the international community without any negative consequences, said Mark Farmaner, Acting Director of the Burma Campaign UK. “They are having a good year. A Security Council resolution was vetoed, the EU rolled over its Common Position on Burma without taking any stronger measures, the Human Rights Council failed to act, and the ILO deferred a decision on a referral to the International Court of Justice. The international community is all huff and no puff, so it is ignored.
The Burma Campaign UK is calling for concerted political and economic pressure to be placed on the regime. To date the international community has been divided on how to approach Burma, as well as failing to prioritise the issue. As a consequence there has been no effective strategy and no consistent message. However, since moves began in 2005 to put Burma on the agenda on the Security Council, there has been a greater prioritisation, and a growing consensus on the need for change. ASEAN has gone from a position of defending the regime to one of public criticism, and even China and Russia, which vetoed the draft Security Council resolution on Burma, have said that there needs to be change in the country.
The UN has been dithering again for the past few months, but has finally reappointed Ibrahim Gambari as envoy to the country. No date has been set for him to visit the country, despite an invitation from the regime.
In recent months the regime, apparently emboldened, has stepped up arrests of democracy activists.
An important first step would be for the UN envoy to visit Burma in the next few weeks and report back to the Security Council, said Mark Farmaner. The UN must start engaging in serious diplomatic initiatives, and the regime given a message that it cannot act with impunity.
For more information contact Mark Farmaner, Acting Director, Burma Campaign UK, on 0207 324 4713.
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