December 17, 2004

Aung San Suu Kyi’s safety under threat

123 MPs call on government to put Burma on United Nations Security Council agenda

Following news that Aung San Suu Kyi’s personal security has been removed, the Burma Campaign UK today expressed fears that her life could be in danger, and called on the United Nations Security Council to take action.

“The British government must immediately put Burma on the agenda of the United Nations Security Council,” said John Jackson, Director of the Burma Campaign UK. “There is a real threat to her safety. Unless the international community starts taking this situation seriously, we fear the regime may be emboldened to make an attempt on her life.”

Fears for Aung San Suu Kyi’s safety have been growing since a government reshuffle in October 2004, in which hardliners seized control of key government posts. General Soe Win, the mastermind behind the 30th May 2003 attack on her convoy by a regime militia, in which up to 100 of her supporters were beaten to death, has been promoted to the post of Prime Minister.

Since then the military dictatorship has been intensifying its isolation of Aung San Suu Kyi. She is allowed no visitors, her phone line has been cut, and now National League for Democracy volunteers providing security at her compound have been removed. In addition, Aung San Suu Kyi is reported to have had a series of health problems in the past 18 months. Despite concerns for her health, the regime is refusing to let her doctor visit more than once a week. He had previously visited every day, which was then reduced to three times a week.

“It is not enough for the United Nations simply to express its concern yet again,” said John Jackson. “Burma’s regime is defying the United Nations, refusing even to let Kofi Annan’s official envoy into the country. They have ignored repeated calls from Kofi Annan to release Aung San Suu Kyi, and year after year defy UN General Assembly resolutions. This situation cannot be allowed to continue.” UN Secretary General Kofi Annan has made dozens of requests for Aung San Suu Kyi’s release and for the regime to enter into dialogue with the National League for Democracy. All have been ignored.

British MPs are also demanding that the government put Burma on the agenda of the United Nations Security Council. 123 MPs have signed Early Day Motion 273, which was put down by the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Democracy in Burma. The motion ranks as the sixth most supported motion in the current parliamentary session.

For more information contact Mark Farmaner, Media Manager, on 020 7324 4713 or John Jackson, Director of the Burma Campaign UK, on 020 7324 4712.

NOTES TO EDITORS

Today, Friday 17 December 2004, Aung San Suu Kyi has spent a total of 9 years, 1 month and 23 days under house arrest.

Early Day Motion 273 can be viewed at:
http://edm.ais.co.uk/weblink/html/motion.html/ref=273

A selection of Kofi Annan’s official statements on Burma since 2002. This does not include comments made in reports, speeches or at press conferences.

8 November 2002
Kofi is concerned
Kofi calls for negotiations

“..the Secretary-General is concerned that the positive momentum generated for the on-going national reconciliation process in Myanmar since the restoration of Daw Aung San Suu Kyi’s freedom of movement on 6 May could dissipate unless some tangible progress is made in the near future.”

21 November 2002
Kofi is hopeful
Kofi calls for negotiations

“The Secretary-General welcomes the release of political prisoners that began in Yangon on Thursday following a statement by the Government that 115 political prisoners would be freed, including many members of the National League for Democracy (NLD)….The Secretary-General hopes this first large-scale release will provide fresh momentum for the national reconciliation process in that country.”

12 February 2003
Kofi is concerned
Kofi calls for negotiations

“The Secretary-General is concerned by the arrests by the Myanmar authorities of 12 members of opposition parties, including 7 members of the National League for Democracy (NLD) as well as Sai Nyunt Lwin, the Secretary-General of the Shan National League for Democracy (SNLD). He once again urges the Myanmar authorities to release without delay all political prisoners, and to engage in substantive political dialogue with Daw Aung San Suu Kyi.”

14 May 2003
Kofi is hopeful
Kofi calls for negotiations

“The Secretary-General hopes that the Special Envoy’s visit will reinvigorate the process of national reconciliation in Myanmar, which appears to have stalled over the past several months.He reiterates his call on both the Government and Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, General Secretary of the National League for Democracy (NLD), to redouble their efforts to start substantive political dialogue by taking advantage of Mr. Razali’s forthcoming visit.”

31 May 2003
Kofi is concerned
Kofi calls for negotiations

“The Secretary-General is following closely, and with concern, the situation in Myanmar after the Government announced Saturday that Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and several other leaders of the National League for Democracy (NLD) were taken into “protective custody” after clashes reportedly broke out between her supporters and pro-government protesters in northern Myanmar.”

“He believes that the latest developments underline the urgent need for national reconciliation in Myanmar and renews his call on the two sides to start their substantive dialogue as soon as possible.”

2 June 2003
Kofi is increasingly concerned
Kofi calls for Suu Kyi release

“The Secretary General is increasingly concerned with the situation in Myanmar, following the incidents this weekend in the North of the country. He is especially worried by the continued detention in ‘protective custody’ of Daw Aung San Suu Kyi (ASSK) and other senior leaders of the National League for Democracy (NLD). The Secretary-General believes that Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and other senior members of the NLD should be released immediately.”

6 June 2003
Kofi is gravely concerned
Kofi calls for Suu Kyi release

“The Secretary-General continues to be gravely concerned about the continued incommunicado detention of Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and other leaders of the NLD, and is particularly troubled by reports of injuries suffered by them. He fully expects that his Special Envoy will be allowed to meet all his interlocutors, and that Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and other NLD members will be released without further delay.”

10 June 2003
Kofi is seriously concerned
Kofi calls for Suu Kyi release and negotiations

“However, the Secretary-General remains seriously concerned about the fact that Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and other senior leaders of the National League for Democracy (NLD) are still denied freedom of movement. He, once again, strongly urges the Government of Myanmar to release her and other NLD leaders from the continued detention immediately and begin a dialogue aimed at national reconciliation without further delay.”

23 June 2003
Kofi is gravely concerned
Kofi calls for Suu Kyi release and negotiations

“The Secretary-General is gravely concerned about a report he received recently that Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, the leader of the National League for Democracy (NLD), is being held in Insein Jail outside Yangon. He considers the conditions under which she is being held – incommunicado and without charge – to be truly deplorable. The Secretary General urges the Government of Myanmar again to heed the repeated calls of the United Nations and the international community, including the member nations of ASEAN, to immediately release Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and other members of the NLD detained on 30 May; to acknowledge that the people of Myanmar are overwhelmingly in favour of change; and to join-hands with all parties, including the NLD, to bring about national reconciliation in Myanmar as soon as possible.”

16 July 2003
Kofi is gravely concerned
Kofi calls for Suu Kyi release and negotiations

“I expressed my grave concern about the safety and well being of Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and other leaders of the National League for Democracy (NLD), who have been held incommunicado since the incident of 30 May.  I emphasized that they should be released without further delay and that it was the responsibility of the Myanmar Government to ensure the safety of Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and her NLD colleagues, in or out of detention. I remain convinced that the only way to build durable peace in Myanmar is to release the detainees, ensure their political freedoms, and begin substantive dialogue with Daw Aung San Suu Kyi immediately. To that end, I requested that the Government take the initiative and meet with her.”

22 September 2003
Kofi remains concerned
Kofi calls for Suu Kyi release

“The Secretary-General remains concerned about the well being of Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and other NLD leaders and reiterates his call that they should be released without further delay. He expects his Special Envoy to meet with Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, find out her condition and work with Government officials towards her immediate and unconditional release.”

31 March 2004
Kofi is interested
Kofi calls for Suu Kyi release and negotiations

“The Secretary-General notes with interest the announcement by the Government of Myanmar that it will convene a National Convention to draft a new constitution on 17 May 2004. The Secretary-General believes that for the National Convention to be credible, it should be all-inclusive. He thus urges the Government of Myanmar to lift the remaining restrictions on Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and her senior colleagues in the National League for Democracy (NLD) as soon as possible, and allow the party to participate in the preparations for the reconvening of the National Convention, together with other political parties and ethnic nationality groups.”

17 May 2004
Kofi is concerned
Kofi calls for Suu Kyi release and negotiations

“The Secretary-General notes with concern that Myanmar’s National Convention was reconvened today without the involvement of the National League for Democracy (NLD) and other political parties who won the majority of seats in the elections of 1990.  The Secretary-General reiterates that, for the National Convention to be credible, it must be all-inclusive and that all the delegates must be able to express their views without sanction. The release of Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, who has clearly indicated her willingness to work with the Government, and U Tin Oo, Deputy Chairman of the NLD, as well as the lifting of the remaining restrictions on the NLD, are essential if the international community is to recognise the National Convention as a legitimate forum for democratisation and national reconciliation in Myanmar.”

17 August 2004
Kofi calls for Suu Kyi release and negotiations

“The Secretary-General calls on the SPDC to make full use of the National Convention’s adjournment by immediately releasing Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and engaging the NLD and other political parties in substantive dialogue on how they can work together for the benefit of the people of Myanmar.”

19 October 2004
Kofi is seriously concerned
Kofi calls for Suu Kyi release

“Noting the change in the top leadership of the Government, the Secretary-General calls on the Myanmar authorities to remain committed to the process of national reconciliation and democratization. To that end, he urges the Myanmar authorities to resume as soon as possible substantive dialogue with the National League for Democracy (NLD) and other political parties, as well as furthering its dialogue with ethnic nationality ceasefire and non-ceasefire groups.

The Secretary-General is also concerned about the welfare of Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and her deputy, U Tin Oo, who have been kept under house arrest since May 2003. He reiterates his call on the Myanmar authorities to release them without further delay.”

30 November 2004
Kofi calls for Suu Kyi release

“The Secretary-General reiterates his belief, which is shared by ASEAN and the countries of the region, that Daw Aung San Suu Kyi’s continued detention is not in the interest of the process of national reconciliation and democratization in Myanmar. The Secretary-General urges the Myanmar authorities to seize the momentum created by the recent announcements to release some 9,000 prisoners by releasing her, as well as all those detained for expressing their political beliefs, as soon as possible.”
16 December 2004
Kofi is seriously concerned
Kofi calls for negotiations

“The Secretary-General is seriously concerned to learn that Daw Aung San Suu Kyi’s personal security detail has been withdrawn, and the already limited access to her by her physician that currently exists has been further restricted. He reminds the Myanmar authorities of their responsibility to ensure Daw Aung San Suu Kyi’s security and well-being.”

The Secretary-General also reiterates strongly his calls on the authorities to honour their expressed commitments to the United Nations and to ASEAN by lifting all the restrictions on Daw Aung San Suu Kyi’s movement and activities as soon as possible; and by taking the requisite steps to ensure that the process of democratisation and national reconciliation in Myanmar is fully inclusive.”

 


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