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/* Written 10:41 PM  Jul 20, 1994 by hnaylor in igc:ai.general */
/* ---------- "MYANMAR/BURMA: Aung San Suu Kyi" ---------- */

Amnesty International USA
304 Pennsylvania Ave SE
Washington DC 20003

JULY 20, 1994


On the fifth anniversary of Nobel laureate Aung San Suu
Kyi's house arrest, Amnesty International is holding an
international day of solidarity for her and for the 26
members of parliament-elect held as political prisoners in

      Politicians and members of Amnesty International are
staging events in at least 20 countries around the world,
including Japan, Israel, France and the USA, appealing to
the ruling military in Myanmar for their release.

      "Myanmar's ruling military council has for the last
five years persistently denied its citizens some of the most
basic human rights," Amnesty International said, "with
thousands of people being forced to porter for the army and
hundreds of political prisoners, including more than 58
prisoners of conscience, remaining in detention."

      The ruling State Law and Order Restoration Council
(SLORC) refused to hand over power in May 1990 despite an
overwhelming victory by the National League for Democracy
(NLD), founded by Aung San Suu Kyi, in the first democratic
elections in Myanmar in recent years. They have retained a
repressive control over the country ever since.

      In February this year, the United Nations Special
Rapporteur on Myanmar reported that human rights are widely
violated and ignored by SLORC, especially in connection with
forced labour, forced relocation and political activities.

      Amnesty International's action focuses on two of the
26 democratically-elected NLD parliamentarians held as
prisoners of conscience in Myanmar: U Kyi Maung, arrested in
September 1990 and Dr. Aung Khin Sint, arrested in August

      The two men have both been sentenced to 20 years'
imprisonment purely for their peaceful opposition to the
government and remain held at Insein Prison, Yangon
(Rangoon). U Kyi Maung, in his seventies, is reported to be
suffering from poor health and not receiving the medical
treatment he needs.

      The practice of forcible portering - arbitrarily
seizing civilians to carry ammunition and other supplies for
the army - is common in areas where armed opposition groups
are active. "SLORC troops routinely beat and kick porters
who have become weak and unable to carry heavy loads of
ammunition," Amnesty International said. "The porters are
rarely told how long they will be forced to serve, are
typically given little or nothing to eat, and are sometimes
tortured or killed."

      Despite SLORC's statement at the United Nations World
Conference on Human Rights in July last year that ethnic
minorities in Myanmar's border areas now "enjoy fully their
political and civil rights", the most recent reports of
forcible portering come from Shan State on the Thai border.
Troops have been seizing civilians in the Tachilek area
since May 18, resulting in hundreds of Shan and other
civilians fleeing across the border to Thailand.

      Others have been arbitrarily seized by the military
and forced to work on construction projects. Amnesty
International has spoken to victims who were not told how
long they would be away from home, were not provided with
food and shelter or any medical treatment and were subjected
to beatings and other ill-treatment. Since November last
year, members of the Mon ethnic minority have been forced to
work under such conditions building the railway line from
Dawei to Ye in the Mon State.

      Amnesty International has welcomed some improvements
which SLORC has made relating to human rights in Myanmar,
including the release of over 2000 political prisoners since
April 1992.

      "These concessions do not however represent a
fundamental change in the SLORC's repressive policy and
practice on human rights," said Amnesty International.

      "The solidarity shown today by ordinary people all
over the world for victims of human rights violations in
Myanmar must tell SLORC that it is time for change."


Events are being held in cities in Australia, Austria,
Belgium, Canada, Italy, Finland, France, Germany, Greece,
Israel, Japan, Luxembourg, Netherlands, New Zealand, Spain,
Sweden, UK and USA. For further information contact national
Amnesty International offices in those countries or Amnesty
International's International Secretariat in London, UK.
Tel: +44 71 413 5810.