Thursday, 28 May 2009

Burma Must Face Serious Consequences If Suu Kyi Kept in Detention

Press Release from the Burma Campaign UK
The Burma Campaign UK today called for Burma’s military dictatorship to face serious consequences if Aung San Suu Kyi is not released at the end of the current trial.

“We cannot have another groundhog day for Aung San Suu Kyi, where once again she is detained, once again the international community expresses outrage, and once again the generals get away with it,” said Mark Farmaner, Director of Burma Campaign UK. “The time is long overdue for a global arms embargo, and for a commission of inquiry into the crimes against humanity and war crimes being committed against ethnic groups in Eastern Burma.”

The Burma Campaign UK believes the United Nations and international community fundamentally misunderstand the nature of the dictatorship, still believing it can be reasoned with despite more than 20 years of failed diplomacy. 39 visits by UN envoys have failed to secure a single concession from the generals.

“The generals will have to be forced into talks by finally facing serious threats to their interests,” said Mark Farmaner. “So far, we have had a divided international community, and with the exception of the US, a few weak sanctions applied randomly. A total arms embargo, depriving them of the weapons they need to stay in power, and the threat of ending up in jail, could help push them into talks.”

The Burma Campaign UK is calling for a combination of economic, legal and diplomatic pressure. There is no single ‘magic bullet’ that will force the dictatorship into genuine talks, instead every point of leverage must be applied. The Burma Campaign UK has laid out detailed proposals of steps that the European Union could take at:

The Burma Campaign UK also cautioned that the dictatorship may back down from giving Aung San Suu Kyi the maximum sentence, and present it as a concession to the international community. Countries like Japan and China would likely praise such a step.

“The rigged elections due in 2010 are uppermost in the generals minds,” said Mark Farmaner. “Since the uprising in 2007 they have systematically rounded up all opposition, doubling the number of political prisoners. The generals do not want anyone, especially Aung San Suu Kyi, to expose them for the sham they are.”

For more information contact Mark Farmaner on 020 7324 4710