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Ban asks military junta to release Suu Kyi
United Nations, Mar 9 (Agencies)
Published on 10 Mar. 2010 12:22 AM IST
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With the elections in Myanmar likely to take place later this year, UN Chief Ban Ki-moon has asked for the release of all political prisoners including detained pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi. In a letter to top leader, Senior General Than Shwe, the Secretary-General emphasised that without the participation of all parties the elections will not be inclusive. “Most importantly, all the political prisoners, including Aung San Suu Kyi, should be released as soon as possible, so that all of them can take part in elections. That would make the elections inclusive and credible,” Ban told journalists here, noting that the letter was sent ten days ago. “I repeatedly emphasised that without the participation of Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and all key political prisoners, the elections would not be inclusive,” he added. No date for the poll has been set, but the ruling generals have promised that it will be sometime this year. Critics say the elections, the first to be held in Burma for 20 years, will be a sham designed to entrench the military’s grip on power. Nobel Peace Prize laureate Suu Kyi, 64, has been under detention for most of the past two past decades. She is the leader of the opposition National League for Democracy (NLD), which won the national elections in 1990. In February, the United Nations’ special envoy on human rights in Burma, Tomas Ojea Quintana, was again denied a meeting Suu Kyi. Last year, Suu Kyi , was sentenced to 18 months of house detention for violating terms of her detention after an uninvited American swam ashore to her house where she was already being held. Her lawyer appealed against the decision in November, and now turning down her appeal will prevent her from running in the first elections in almost 20 years scheduled for 2010. The US and other Western nations have been imposing sanctions because of Myanmar?s refusal to release Suu Kyi, and the military junta is accused of human rights violations in the country. In the past, China and Russia have vetoed Security Council resolutions against Myanmar. Last month, Tin Oo, 82, the deputy leader of the NLD was released after six years in detention. Ban underlined that the letter to General Than underlined the “lack of progress” being made and the need for elections to be carried out in an inclusive manner. “For that purpose, there should be administrative measures taken,” he said. Regarding the recent announcement of election laws by the regime, Ban said, “That is what I had been urging the Myanmar authorities to do as soon as possible. On Tuesday, Myanmar released the first of five of these laws by announcing the criteria of the forming of an election commission.

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