By SAW YAN NAING
The Irrawaddy News
Influential international and regional leaders should act immediately to help detained Burmese democracy icon Aung San Suu Kyi get her message out to the world, according to a leading rights group.
Speaking with The Irrawaddy on Wednesday, Roshan Jason, executive director and spokesperson for Asean Inter-Parliamentary Myanmar Caucus (AIPMC), said, “We don’t know what Suu Kyi’s intentions are. She could be refusing food for many reasons. It may be a protest. But, if there is a problem, we cannot find out.
“Suu Kyi is not a criminal. We must at least allow her to have a voice. She cannot be cut off from the world.
“We are calling for international intervention from Asean’s secretary-general and the UN secretary-general to get involved,” he added. “The very least they should do is check her status—is she really on hunger strike?”
In a statement released on Wednesday, AIPMC urged UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon, as well as Surin Pitsuwan, the general-secretary of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) to pay visits to Burma and meet with Suu Kyi as soon as possible.
The statement said that Suu Kyi’s refusal to receive UN Special Envoy Ibrahim Gambari during his visit to Burma last week was a sign that his mandate is failing.
A comprehensive assessment of Suu Kyi’s health must be carried out as soon as possible, the statement concluded, adding that the secretary-general of Asean should also look into the reasons as to why she may be refusing her food supplies.
Suu Kyi, who has spent more than 13 of the past 19 years under house arrest, has reportedly refused to accept food supplies since August 15. Some observers have suggested she is on hunger strike.
The AIPMC also reminded the UN and Asean that the continued well-being of Suu Kyi is vital to achieving a peaceful resolution to the conflict in Burma.
Meanwhile, Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, who met with Ibrahim Gambari on Wednesday, said that the UN envoy’s mission to Burma had not failed yet, and that the “Group of Friends on Myanmar” still supported his role.