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Suu Kyi: Life in Myanmar a 'battlef

Subject: Suu Kyi: Life in Myanmar a 'battlefield' (AP)

Suu Kyi: Life in Myanmar a 'battlefield'
Suu Kyi     

May 12, 1999
Web posted at: 12:34 a.m. EDT (0434 GMT)

BANGKOK, Thailand (CNN) -- Myanmar pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi
describes her military-ruled country as a "battlefield" in a videotape to be
played at a conference for peace this week at The Hague. 

"A battlefield is not necessarily a place where people are shooting at each
other," the Nobel Peace laureate said in the tape, which was smuggled out of
her country for the conference, which begins Wednesday. 

"In civil society where basic human rights are ignored, where the rights of
the people are violated every day, it is like a battlefield where lives are
lost and people are crippled," Suu Kyi said. 

Myanmar, also known as Burma, has been ruled by the military in various
guises since 1962. In 1990 the junta refused to recognize elections that
gave Suu Kyi's party a landslide victory. 

The military has long refused dialogue with Suu Kyi, its most formidable
opponent since it seized direct power in 1988 by bloodily crushing a
pro-democracy uprising. 

The junta suppresses almost all political opposition. Troops patrolled the
capital last year to stop planned demonstrations. 

Hundreds of members of Suu Kyi's party have been detained. The army has
frequently been accused of brutality and murder in ethnic areas. Suu Kyi
herself lives in circumstances akin to house arrest. 

"When we talk of peace we cannot avoid talking about human rights,
especially in a country like Burma where the people are troubled constantly
by the lack of justice, by the lack of peace," she said. 

"In our country there are many different races living together but we have
not been able to live together in peace because the situation does not exist
where we can trust each other." 

Seeking peace
The Hague Appeal for Peace Conference, commemorating the 100th anniversary
of the First International Peace Conference, ends Saturday. 

It is a component of the Hague Appeal for Peace, which its organizers
describe as "a major end-of-century campaign dedicated to the
delegitimization of war and the construction of a culture of peace." 

The conference is scheduled to launch several mass political campaigns:
against child-soldiers, for an International Criminal Court, against small
arms, for a convention outlawing nuclear weapons, and to make universal
peace-education compulsory in schools and universities. 

"Burma is not really unique," Suu Kyi said in the videotape. "We are not the
only country where people are suffering from a lack of basic human rights
and we feel for others in the same situation." 

"If there is any lesson to be learned from Burma is that it helps when
people care," Suu Kyi said. "I think the case of Burma has become widely
known because people outside Burma have cared enough." 

The Associated Press contributed to this report.