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BBC-Suu Kyi's message of defiance

BBC-Wednesday, May 12, 1999 Published at 19:06 GMT 20:06 UK
World: Asia-Pacific

Suu Kyi's message of defiance

Aung San Suu Kyi says life in Burma is like a battlefield

Burma's pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi has issued a defiant
anti-government message in a video-taped interview smuggled out of her

The BBC's Simon Harrison: Burma's leadership will accept no opposition
Ms Suu Kyi's latest attack on the military junta that rules her country
accuses them of repeatedly violating human rights.

The tape is due to be played at a peace conference being held this week in
the Netherlands.

In it, she describes the suppression that still grips her country, almost 11
years after a brutal military crackdown on pro-democracy demonstrators in
which thousands died.

The video is likely to further enrage Burma's military leadership
She says that because of almost routine human rights abuses, life in modern
Burma, renamed Myanmar by the country's military rulers, was "like a
battlefield where lives are lost and people crippled".

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

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

Ms Suu Kyi's party, the National League for Democracy, has been locked in
political stalemate with the Burmese Government since it won an overwhelming
victory in national elections held in 1990.

The military retains a tight grip on life in Burma
The junta refused to recognise the result and held Ms Suu Kyi under house
arrest for more than six years.

Since then, hundreds of NLD supporters and elected MPs have been detained by
the authorities and Ms Suu Skyi's movements are constantly monitored by the

The video is first such statement released by Ms Suu Kyi since the death of
her husband, Dr Michael Aris, last month.

Dr Aris, who had been suffering from cancer, was denied a visa to pay a
final visit to his wife before his death.

Ms Suu Kyi decided against travelling to the UK to visit him saying she
doubted government promises that she would be allowed to return.