June 29, 2011

Burma Campaign UK today condemned threats made by Burma’s dictatorship against Aung San Suu Kyi and her party, the National League for Democracy (NLD), and called on UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon to abandon his ‘wait and see’ policy on Burma.

The state-owned New Light of Myanmar today published two articles attacking the NLD. While the main thrust of the attacks are that the NLD is operating illegally as it is no longer a registered political party, there is also a thinly veiled threat to Aung San Suu Kyi and her party members, warning that; “We are deeply concerned that if Daw Aung San Suu Kyi makes trips to the countryside regions, there may be chaos and riots, as evidenced by previous incidents.”

This language is very similar to language used by the dictatorship before the Depayin Massacre on 30th May 2003, when regime thugs attempted to assassinate Aung San Suu Kyi, and at least 70 of her supporters were beaten to death. Aung San Suu Kyi was then arrested and detained until 13th November 2010.

“This is groundhog day in Burma” said Anna Roberts, Executive Director of Burma Campaign UK. “Once again Aung San Suu Kyi is being threatened simply for wanting to travel in her own country.  By stating that there may be chaos and riots, Burma’s new dictator, Thein Sein, is attempting to blackmail Aung San Suu Kyi into abandoning plans to travel by threatening the lives of her supporters. The threats tell us that nothing has really changed in Burma, including how scared the dictatorship is of Aung San Suu Kyi.”

Burma Campaign UK also called on the UN Secretary General to abandon his wait and see policy on Burma. He should appoint a new UN envoy to Burma without delay, and work to secure dialogue between the dictatorship, the democracy movement, and genuine ethnic representatives.

“Instead of seizing on the opportunity of Aung San Suu Kyi’s release to restart dialogue initiatives, Ban Ki moon adopted a wait and see approach, not even appointing a new full time UN Envoy,” said Anna Roberts. “While Ban Ki-moon fails to act, Burma is sliding into large-scale civil war, human rights abuses are increasing, and Aung San Suu Kyi’s supporters are being threatened with violence and prosecution.”


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