UN chief shares US concern about Aung San Suu Kyi
Myanmar democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi speaks at a press conference in 2002
UNITED NATIONS (AFP) — UN chief Ban Ki-moon said Wednesday he shared the concern expressed by 10 US senators about the continued detention of Myanmar’s democracy icon and Nobel peace prize laureate Aung San Suu Kyi.
In a letter released Tuesday, 10 women US senators urged the UN secretary general to step up pressure on Myanmar’s ruling junta to scrap elections plans and free Aung San Suu Kyi.
A UN statement Wednesday said Ban and his special adviser Ibrahim Gambari “share their (US senators’) concern about the continued detention of Aung San Suu Kyi” and “have repeatedly called for her release and that of other political prisoners and will continue to do so.”
In their letter, the US lawmakers also appealed to Ban to publicly urge the military regime to end human rights abuses, “eliminate rape as an instrument of war” and bring violators to justice.
They also pressed him to ask the military to “abandon plans” to hold elections in 2010 under a much-criticized new constitution approved in May 2008, after Cyclone Nargis devastated southern parts of the country and left 138,000 people dead or missing.
The letter was signed by Senators Dianne Feinstein, Kay Bailey Hutchison, Patty Murray, Olympia Snowe, Blanche Lincoln, Maria Cantwell, Susan Collins, Barbara Boxer, Amy Klobuchar, Barbara Mikulski, and Lisa Murkowski.
Aung San Suu Kyi has spent most of the last 19 years under detention by the military junta that has ruled the southeast Asian country since 1962. Her National League of Democracy won a landslide election victory in 1990 that the junta refused to recognize.
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