The Burma Campaign UK today strongly condemned the Burmese military dictatorship for continuing to detain Burma’s democracy leader, Aung San Suu Kyi, and called on the United Nations Security Council to impose a global arms embargo against Burma.
Aung San Suu Kyi was found guilty of breaking the terms of her house arrest after an American man, John Yettaw, swam to her house and refused to leave. As the Burma Campaign UK predicted, Aung San Suu Kyi was not given the maximum 5 year prison sentence, but instead will serve 18 months under house arrest. The regime will try to present this as leniency in order to avoid international sanctions. This period of detention keeps Aung San Suu Kyi in detention during rigged elections due in 2010. The elections bring in a new constitution which is designed to legalise military rule.
“The dictatorship is directly defying the United Nations Security Council,” said Zoya Phan, International Coordinator at Burma Campaign UK. “It is time the generals faced consequences for their actions, a global arms embargo should be imposed immediately.”
On May 22nd the Security Council issued a statement – its third – calling on the regime to enter into genuine dialogue with Aung San Suu Kyi and ethnic groups. Instead they have continued to detain her, along with more than 2,100 political prisoners. The dictatorship is determined to silence all pro-democracy voices in the country in the run up to rigged elections next year. The elections bring in a new constitution that enshrines military rule, and grants no new freedoms or human rights. Instead, a rubber stamp Parliament will do the government’s bidding.
Aung San Suu Kyi has been in detention for more than 13 of the past 19 years. The United Nations has ruled that her detention is illegal under international law and Burmese law. According to the dictatorship, her current period of detention was due to expire on 27th May. She was put on trial on 18th May for breaking the conditions of her house arrest after an American man swam to her home and refused to leave.
“There was an outcry when the trial started, now those fine words must now be turned into practical action,” said Zoya Phan. “The soft diplomacy of the UN and Asian countries has failed. A global arms embargo is the most effective way of showing this military dictatorship that it can no longer defy the international community.”
The Burma Campaign UK is also calling on the United Nations to establish a Commission of Inquiry into crimes against humanity and war crimes being committed by the dictatorship in Burma.
For more information contact Zoya Phan or Mark Farmaner, Director of Burma Campaign UK, on 020 7324 4710.
SECURITY COUNCIL PRESS STATEMENT ON MYANMAR
22nd May 2009
The members of the Security Council express their concern about the political impact of recent developments relating to Daw Aung San Suu Kyi.
The members of the Security Council reaffirm, in this context, their statements of 11 October 2007 and 2 May 2008 and, in this regard, reiterate the importance of the release of all political prisoners. The members of the Security Council reiterate the need for the Government of Myanmar to create the necessary conditions for a genuine dialogue with Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and all concerned parties and ethnic groups in order to achieve an inclusive national reconciliation with the support of the United Nations.
The members of the Security Council affirm their commitment to the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Myanmar and, in that context, reiterate that the future of Myanmar lies in the hands of all of its people.