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HRW/Asia pres release[D

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                         December 21, 1995

For more information:
Zunetta Liddell,  London,          44 171 713 1995
                         44 171 278 4485 (h)
Mike Jendrzejczyk, Washington,     202-371-6592, ext. 113
                                301-585-5824 (h)

Burma: NLD Member Arrested, New Restrictions Imposed

     U Sein Hla Aung, a 45-year-old member of the National League for
Democracy (NLD), will be tried on December 29 in Mandalay, according
to information received by Human Rights Watch/Asia. He was arrested
near his home in Mandalay on December 16 for having distributed videos
of Daw Aung San Suu Kyi's "People's Forum", the informal public
gatherings which have taken place outside Daw Aung San Suu Kyi's home
since her release from six years of house arrest in July 1995.   Human
Rights Watch/Asia is concerned that U Sein Hla Aung may not receive a
fair trial, and urges foreign embassies in Rangoon to request details about
the charges against him, and request permission to send diplomatic
observers to attend the trial.
     Since the NLD withdrew from the government-sponsored National
Convention on November 29, 1995, Human Rights Watch/Asia has learned
that  new restrictions have been placed on NLD local party members. 
Under the new orders, any NLD member must seek permission from local
Law and Order Restoration Councils before embarking on any travel or
attending party meetings.  There are also additional restrictions on the
publication and distribution of NLD literature and video films.  Since 1988,
when political parties were first allowed to form in Burma, all written texts
by political parties have had to be approved by the Elections Commission.
It is not known if the new restrictions also apply to other political parties in

     "These laws and new restrictions violate international law," said
Human Rights Watch/Asia researcher Zunetta Liddell. "We consider any
attempt to prosecute U Sein Hla Aung to be a flagrant violation of
fundamental human rights and a sign that the government of Burma does
not at this point intend to implement the recommendations recently adopted
by consensus at the United Nations General Assembly." 

     Human Rights Watch/Asia calls on the government of Burma, the
State Law and Order Restoration Council, to immediately and
unconditionally release U Sein Hla Aung. We also urge the government to
fully implement the recommendations of the December 11, 1995 United
Nations General Assembly resolution, including the provision which  
urges the Government of Myanmar [Burma] to take all appropriate
measures to allow all citizens to participate freely in the political process in
accordance with the principles of the Universal Declaration of Human
Rights..."  The resolution also calls on the government   to ensure full
respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms, including freedoms of
expression and assembly..."


Human Rights Watch/Asia
Human Rights Watch is a nongovernmental organization established in 1978 to monitor
and promote the observance of internationally recognized human rights in Africa, the
Americas, Asia, the Middle East and among the signatories of the Helsinki accords.  It is
supported by contributions from private individuals and foundations  worldwide.  It
accepts no government funds, directly or indirectly.  The staff includes Kenneth Roth,
executive director; Cynthia Brown, program director; Holly J. Burkhalter, advocacy
director; Robert Kimzey, publications director; Jeri Laber, special advisor; Gara
LaMarche, associate director; Lotte Leicht, Brussels office director; Juan Mndez, general
counsel; Susan Osnos, communications director; Jemera Rone, counsel; Joanna Weschler,
United Nations representative; and Derrick Wong, finance and administration director. 
Robert L. Bernstein is the chair of the board and Adrian W. DeWind is vice chair.  Its Asia
division was established in 1985 to monitor and promote the observance of internationally
recognized human rights in Asia.  Sidney Jones is the executive director; Mike
Jendrzejczyk is the Washington director; Robin Munro is the Hong Kong director;
Jeannine Guthrie is NGO Liaison; Dinah PoKempner is Counsel; Patricia Gossman and
Zunetta Liddell are research associates; Joyce Wan and Shu-Ju Ada Cheng are Henry R.
Luce Fellows; Diana Tai-Feng Cheng and Paul Lall are the associates; Mickey Spiegel is a
research consultant.  Andrew J. Nathan is chair of the advisory committee and Orville
Schell is vice chair.       ......................... ... ...-....1200 N81N         ......................... ... ...-....1200 N81N