Friday, 5 September 2008

AIPMC Appeals to Surin, Ban Ki-moon to Visit Suu Kyi

The Irrawaddy News

A rights advocacy group within the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) has appealed to the heads of both Asean and the UN to visit Burmese pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi and check on her health.

Roshan Jason, executive director of the group, the Asean Inter-Parliamentary Myanmar Caucus (AIPMC), told The Irrawaddy on Thursday that letters had gone to Asean Secretary-General Surin Pitsuwan and UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon asking them to make a personal assessment of Suu Kyi’s condition—“Not just her physical health but also her emotional [state of mind].”

The letter told Surin and Ban: “We remind you that her continued well-being is vital for a peaceful resolution of the conflict in Burma.”

Suu Kyi’s political party, the National League for Democracy (NLD), says she has been refusing supplies of food to her home since mid-August, but there is no indication that she is on a hunger strike. Her lawyer said after visiting her this week that she has lost weight and is tired but otherwise appears to be in good health.

Suu Kyi has spent more than 13 of the past 19 years under house arrest.

The AIPMC letter reminded Surin that he had described Asean as a “tapestry of hope,” and said that Burma was a part of this tapestry. The AIPMC urged Surin to act to ensure the tapestry did not unravel.

Jason said Asean had acknowledged receipt of the letter, but nothing had been heard yet from the UN. The two bodies appeared to think Suu Kyi was not “relevant in the democracy process,” he said.

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