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Burma & U.S. Congress on January 10
- Subject: Burma & U.S. Congress on January 10
- From: freeburma@xxxxxxx
- Date: Tue, 16 Jan 1996 22:21:00
Subject: Burma & U.S. Congress on January 10, 1996
Attn: Burma Newsreaders
Re: Burma & U.S. Congress on January 10, 1996
DAW AUNG SAN SUU KYI (Senate - January 10, 1996)
Mr. LEAHY. Mr. President, the January 7, 1996 New York Times Magazine
contains an interview with the leader of Burma 's democracy movement,
Daw Aung San Suu Kyi.
Many of us have followed her situation, during six years of house
arrest, and her recent release by the Burmese authorities. She is a
woman of remarkable courage, honesty and clarity of purpose. She wants
to do whatever she can to improve the lives of her people, and she has
devoted her life to that goal. She believes unequivocally that
democracy is the only way, and she has the trust and support of the
overwhelming majority of Burmese citizens.
As she says in the interview, the Burmese authorities continue to
refuse to even discuss a process for instituting democracy, because
they are too fond of their power and privileges. But Suu Kyi knows
that eventually the SLORC will have to sit down and negotiate with
her. As she points out, that is what happened in South Africa, and
even in the former Yugoslavia although there only after the slaughter
of a quarter of a million people and the destruction of much of
Bosnia. Those two examples represent the SLORC's options. Either a
peaceful way out, or mass demonstrations and an explosion of violence
that will make them wish they had listened to her.
Mr. President, I am pleased to be an original cosponsor of Senator
McConnell's legislation to impose sanctions on the Burmese government.
Senator McConnell has been a strong advocate for human rights and
democracy in Burma , and I applaud him for it. It is important that
the United States have a consistent policy, and I believe that until
the SLORC demonstrates a genuine willingness to negotiate the
transition to democracy with Suu Kyi, our policy should be to isolate
the SLORC from the world community it yearns to be part of. In that
regard, I would note that the SLORC has named 1996 `Visit Myanmar
Year.' I hope that anyone considering accepting the SLORC's invitation
will read the interview with Suu Kyi, and be aware that they may find
themselves staying in hotels and traveling on roads that were built
with forced labor.
Mr. President, I am not going to ask that the entire interview be
printed in the Record, but I urge all Senators to read it. I do ask
unanimous consent that Suu Kyi's response to the question `What do you
want people in the United States to know about you?' be printed in the
There being no objection, the material was ordered to be printed in
the Record, as follows:
Excerpt From Interview With Suu Kyi
Q: What do you want people in the United States to know about you?
A: That we are not near democracy yet and that there are, so far, no
signs that we are progressing toward democratization. The National
Convention [that Slorc was holding to draft a constitution], as it
stands, is not a step toward democratization at all.
I think a lot of Americans very much take their rights for granted.
And I think many of them do not know what life is like for those of us
whose security is not guaranteed by a democratic constitution. So I
would like to ask them to try to put themselves in our shoes, and ask
how they would feel if they were deprived of all rights. I would like
them to see us not as a country rather far away whose sufferings do
not matter, but as fellow human beings in need of human rights and who
could do so much for the world, if we were allowed.