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NEWS - Struggle for Democracy and
- Subject: NEWS - Struggle for Democracy and
- From: Rangoonp@xxxxxxx
- Date: Thu, 10 Dec 1998 19:20:00
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
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,"