September 26, 2003

As Aung San Suu Kyi returns to house arrest for the third time, the Burma Campaign UK calls for increased pressure on the military dictatorship.

“We are relieved that Aung San Suu Kyi is recovering well after surgery,” said Yvette Mahon, Director of Burma Campaign UK, but she warned now is not the time to relax pressure on the regime. “Aung San Suu Kyi’s return to house arrest does not represent progress, we are back where we were in 1989. Burma is still ruled by a military dictatorship, the people of Burma still live in fear, and there has not been a single political reform in 14 years.”

Aung San Suu Kyi has been calling for targeted economic sanctions against the dictatorship in Burma. Foreign investment has played a vital role in bolstering the regime, which spends over forty percent of its budget on the military. To date Prime Minister Tony Blair has ignored her calls, despite Labour’s 1997 pre-election pledge to impose investment sanctions.

The Burma Campaign UK expressed concern that some countries would use the announcement to avoid taking action against the regime. With the exception of the United States, the international community has failed to take strong action against Burma’s dictatorship.

“People assume there are sanctions against the regime and that they have not worked,” says Yvette Mahon. “In fact, only the US has imposed effective economic sanctions. The EU only has a visa ban and freeze on assets as Germany is blocking EU sanctions. There is not even a UN arms embargo against Burma.”

MTV and the Burma Campaign UK are running a joint campaign calling for the release of Aung San Suu Kyi. In the last month over 40,000 people have visited and emailed Kofi Annan and the five permanent members of the security council, demanding the UN take action.

“It is time to get off the merry-go-round,” says Mahon. “The United Nations must impose tough economic sanctions on Burma. It is what Aung San Suu Kyi and the National League for Democracy are calling for, and it is what the regime in Burma fears most.”

For more information contact Mark Farmaner, Media Officer, on 020 7423 4713, or Yvette Mahon, Director of Burma Campaign UK on 020 7324 4714


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