Friday, 18 July 2008

ASEAN officials say Myanmar should release political detainees

SINGAPORE (Channelasia): Myanmar should release all political detainees, senior Southeast Asian officials say in a recommendation to their foreign ministers.

"The SOM (senior officials' meeting)... called on the release of all political detainees," a senior Southeast Asian official said.

If endorsed, the recommendation will be included in a joint statement to be issued after a two-day meeting of the ministers that starts Sunday, the official said.

The proposed paragraphs on Myanmar also call on the military government "to take bolder steps in what they're doing to move along the roadmap to democracy," the official said.

However, it could still be amended by the ministers from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).

The 10-member ASEAN has been widely criticised for its policy of "constructive engagement" regarding Myanmar, which is under EU and US sanctions over its human rights record.

Myanmar's detainees include democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi, who has been held under house arrest for most of the past 18 years. - AFP/ms

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