January 10, 2007

Regime Trying to Manipulate UN Security Council

The Burma Campaign UK today welcomed the release of 88 Generation Student leaders
Min Ko Naing, Ko Ko Gyi, Htay Kway, Min Zeya and Myint Aye. The five were arrested in September 2006, and have been held without charge since then.

“While their release is very welcome, it is clear this is a cynical ploy by the regime to try to head off a Security Council resolution on Burma that is likely to be voted on before the end of the week,” said Yvette Mahon, Director of the Burma Campaign UK. “We urge Security Council members not to be duped by such a blatant attempt to manipulate their discussions.”

Burma has more than 1,100 political prisoners, including Nobel Peace Prize winner Aung San Suu Kyi.

Shortly before his arrest, Min Ko Naing repeated his call for the UN Security Council to pass a binding resolution requiring the restoration of democracy in Burma.

Min Ko Naing is Burma’s most prominent pro-democracy leader after Aung San Suu Kyi. He spent more than 15 years in detention, and was released in 2004 having served five years more than he had been sentenced to. He had been tortured and kept in solitary confinement.

The regime in Burma has consistently defied the United Nations, ignoring over a dozen calls for Aung San Suu Kyi’s release by the Secretary General, and 29 resolutions by the UN General Assembly and Human Rights Commission. The regime has also defied repeated calls by the International Labour Organisation to end forced labour. Demands for UN Security Council intervention increased following the arrest of Aung San Suu Kyi in 2003. The campaign was given fresh momentum following publication in September 2005 of a report – A Threat to the Peace – commissioned by former archbishop Desmond Tutu and former Czech President Vaclav Havel from global law firm DLA Piper. The report found that Burma does fit the criteria for UNSC intervention, and called on the UNSC to pass a binding resolution requiring the restoration of democracy to Burma, and the release of all political prisoners, including Aung San Suu Kyi. The Security Council held its first discussion on Burma in December 2005. The first formal discussion on Burma was held on 29th September 2006, after the USA asked for Burma to be placed on the formal agenda, and 10 of the 15 members voted in favour. Burma’s democracy movement has repeatedly called for a Security Council resolution.

For more information, contact Mark Farmaner on 0207 324 4713.

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