Burma’s Aung San Suu Kyi Asks for US Support for Inquiry

Posted June 22nd, 2011 at 2:50 pm (UTC-5)
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Burmese opposition leader, Aung San Suu Kyi told members of the U.S. Congress that a United Nations Human Rights Council resolution passed earlier this year is good guide for how Burma can move toward democracy.

In videotaped comments to the House subcommittee on Asia and Pacific Affairs Wednesday, the Nobel Peace laureate said the resolution calls on Burma's government to allow greater civil freedoms, release political prisoners and work toward political reconciliation.

She said following that resolution would lead to genuine democracy.

She urged Congress to push for an international commission of inquiry into human rights abuses in Burma, saying such a panel would not be a tribunal, but a way to make sure abuses do not recur.

Her remarks were part of a hearing on last November's elections, the country's first in 20 years. International critics of Burma say the elections merely solidified military rule, since a party backed by the military won the most parliamentary seats.

The panel's chairman, Republican Don Manzullo of Illinois, opened the hearing by calling the election a sham and saying that “repression in Burma continues,” noting recent fighting between government troops and an ethnic minority militia in Kachin state.

Aung San Suu Kyi said if the new government is sincere about democracy, it should free political prisoners. And she called for an independent judiciary, saying that is the only way to ensure the rule of law and give citizens security.

Aung San Suu Kyi's National League for Democracy won the last elections held in 1990, but the military government refused to recognize the results. The party did not participate in the election because it refused to purge her and other imprisoned members from its rolls, which was required under new election laws.

Aung San Suu Kyi, who spent most of the past 20 years under some form of detention, was released shortly after the November elections.