June 19, 2011

As Aung San Suu Kyi, leader of Burma’s democracy movement, celebrates her 66th birthday today, Burma Campaign UK calls for a revived UN effort to secure dialogue to solve the political problems in Burma.

In an updated briefing paper on Aung San Suu Kyi, Burma Campaign UK argues that the United Nations is failing to learn from previous experience in dealing with the dictatorship in Burma. The briefing is available at:http://www.burmacampaign.org.uk/index.php/news-and-reports/burma-briefing/title/aung-san-suu-kyi1

Aung San Suu Kyi was released on 13th November last year, 6 days after rigged elections for a powerless new Parliament. Her release was not part of any negotiated UN dialogue initiative, as it had been when she was released in 2002. Despite this, Ban Ki-moon has not initiated any serious initiative to secure dialogue in Burma, even though he is mandated by the UN General Assembly to do so. Nor has he appointed a new full time UN Envoy.

The lack of any sense of urgency from the UN is all the more surprising given that Thein Sein, Burma’s new dictator, is breaking ceasefire agreements with armed ethnic groups, and the country is sliding into large-scale civil war. Thein Sein has also failed to release political prisoners in the country, instead denying that there even are political prisoners in the country.

“Aung San Suu Kyi has dedicated her life to securing freedom for the people of Burma, and deserves practical support from the international community, not just words of admiration,” said Anna Roberts, Executive Director of Burma Campaign UK. “Ban Ki-moon’s wait and see approach to Burma fails to learn from past UN mistakes in dealing with the dictatorship. He needs to personally take the lead, and set timelines and benchmarks. Softly softly doesn’t work with this dictatorship.”


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