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BURMA: ASEAN SHOULD HELP END STANDO
BURMA: ASEAN SHOULD HELP END STANDOFF
New York, August 31, 2000
Mizzima News Group
In letters to Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) foreign
ministers on 29th August, Human Rights Watch called on ASEAN governments
to use their influence to persuade Burma's State Peace and Development
Council (SPDC) to end the current standoff with Aung San Suu Kyi.
Noting that the actions of the SPDC violated the rights to freedom of
movement, expression, and assembly of Aung San Suu Kyi and fellow
members of the National League for Democracy, Human Rights Watch said
that ASEAN intervention would demonstrate the organization's commitment
to upholding basic freedoms.
The international monitoring organization urged the foreign ministers to
add their voices to that of Thai Foreign Minister Surin Pitsuwan in
arguing for an end, to the confrontation. In statements to the Bangkok
press on Monday, Foreign Minister Surin noted his concern that the
confrontation in Burma ?may affect the image of ASEAN as a whole? and
could sour the December ASEAN-European Union foreign ministers meeting.
"We are aware of discussions within ASEAN about the possible creation of
a human rights body. Persuading the SPDC to lift restrictions on the
country's most prominent opposition leader would be a useful
demonstration by ASEAN members of their commitment to upholding basic
freedoms", said Sidney Jones, Director, Asia Division of Human Rights
Watch in the letters.