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NEWS - Struggle for Democracy and

Subject: NEWS -   Struggle for Democracy and Human Rights Same in Burma

Struggle for Democracy and Human Rights Same


            BANGKOK, Thailand (AP) -- Nobel laureate Aung San Suu
            Kyi marked today's 50th anniversary of the U.N. human
            rights charter by smuggling a videotape out of Myanmar in
            which she declared the struggle for those rights and the
            struggle for democracy as one and the same. 

            Suu Kyi said she had come to "deeply appreciate the
            wisdom and vision," of those who drafted the U.N.'s
            Universal Declaration on Human Rights a half century ago. 

            Myanmar's military leaders have insisted there is no human
            rights problem or violations in their country. 

            But Suu Kyi's portrait of Myanmar has been supported by
            Rajsoomer Lallah, a U.N. special envoy who visited
            Myanmar earlier this year. 

            Lallah reported that the military government tortures and
            opponents without trial, and its soldiers kill, commit gang
            rapes and round up people for forced labor, 

            Suu Kyi, the pivotal figure in Myanmar's democratic
            movement, has spent the last nine years under house arrest
            or with her movements strictly curtailed by the government. 

            Statements by the 1991 Nobel Peace Prize winner have
            become extremely rare, as the government refuses to let her
            speak in public. 

            The military has ruled Myanmar, also known as Burma, since

            In the past several months, the military has attempted to
            dismantle her political party, the National League for
            Democracy, by arresting nearly a thousand of its members
            and refusing to release them until they sign a statement
            quitting the party. 

            Today, it announced it had released 81 more NLD members.

            Suu Kyi has said the resignations were coerced, and the
            party leadership does not recognize them. 

            Among those arrested were hundreds of members of the
            parliament elected in 1990 but which the military never
            allowed to convene. The NLD won 82 percent of the seats in
            the assembly. 

            Suu Kyi said the U.N. declaration held particular relevance
            to the people of Myanmar because it says governments
            should reflect the will of the people through genuine

            "Eight years ago democratic elections were held in my
            country, but the results have not been honored by the
            military regime, and the victorious party, the NLD, is
            subjected to the most grueling persecution," Suu Kyi said. 

            "So for us, as for many others, the struggle for democracy
            has become synonymous with the struggle for human rights,"
            she said.