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To: reg.burma@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
Date: Tue, 5 Dec 1995 14:09:38 +0000
Subject: news
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Organization: Forum for Democracy and Human Rights

             SUPPORT FOR SUU KYI
         THE HINDU ( Editorial ) Dec.5, 1995				         

The time may have arrived for India to come out in open 
support of the movement for democracy headed by Ms. 
Aung San Suu Kyi in neighbouring Myanmar, placing its 
own cherished national values of freedom and
human rights above whatever little gains may be had
by continued contact with the regime in Yangon. By 
rejecting the legitimate demands of the Suu Kyi-led 
National Democratic League and expelling it from the 
convention called to draft a constitution of convenience, 
the regime has shut the door to national reconciliation 
and forfeited the trust reposed in it by the 
international community. There was relief and 
even optimism when the junta released Ms. Suu Kyi, 
the Nobel Prize and Nehru Award winner, from six years 
of house arrest in early July. The optimism was of 
course tempered by the realization that the released 
come on the eve of a summit of the Association 
of South East Asian Nations whose riches the military 
regime is eager to partake of. Through its latest act, 
the junta stands exposed for what it is: a ruthless 
machine that brooks no opposition and which has now 
given up even the pretenses of moving the country 
towards civilian rule. The so-called national 
convention, dominated by representatives hand-picked 
by the military, has just one task: to prepare a 
constitution that will prepetuate the junta's hold on 

	It must now be quite clear to all those apologists 
of the regime that it released Ms. Suu Kyi not because it 
was committed to political change and reconciliation but to 
entice foreign capital, particularly from countries in the 
neighbourhood which have perfected their own version of 
democracy and, flush with finance, have been looking around 
for safe investment destinations. Their policy of 
"constructive engagement" was based on the doubtful 
premise that quite pressure combined with interaction would 
loosen the junta's hold. Japan and some members of ASEAN 
launched on a process of calibrated political and economic 
incentives soon after Ms. Suu Kyi's release. But the soft 
approach, meant also to induce Myanmar to come out of the 
embrace of China, is a shambles and the policy of carrot    
without stick has emboldened the regime to issue threats to 
its opponents. A hermetically sealed country which has just 
has a taste of freedom now faces the threat of being pushed 
back into darkness.

	THE choice before the international community is 
clear: it must ensure that the regime is not allowed to 
get away with impunity. The junta must be told that the 
world will accept nothing short of complete political 
freedom for Ms. Suu Kyi and her democracy campaigners -
under the rules framed by the junta's underlings, she is 
to be barred from participating in the nation's political 
life on the ground of her marriage to a foreigner. Examples 
abound of international inaction and ineptitude in the face 
of the type of challenge posed by the military men in 
Myanmar and Nigeria. But there have also been successful 
demonstrations of the world community's determination to 
reinstate democracy, such as the effort in Haiti. Ms. 
Suu Kyi has displayed exemplary courage and has just 
declared that she and her supporters are prepared to face 
the consequences of their action. Myanmar is certainly a 
test case. Giving the Neru Award for International 
Understanding to are representative of Ms. Suu Kyi in 
New Delhi a fortnight ago, the President, Dr. S. D. Sharma, 
declared that "supporting democracy elsewhere is part of 
affirming one's own democratic credentials." India can 
redeem this pledge to the Myanmar leader, whom the 
Vice- President described as a "symbol of challenge to 
injustice", by launching an international campaign for 
the return of democracy to her country.

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