Pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi’s party on Wednesday welcomed a new UN report that criticized the country’s junta for jailing hundreds of political dissidents.
U Lwin, spokesman and secretary of the National League for Democracy, or NLD, said the party endorsed the report, which was released Tuesday by Paulo Sergio Pinheiro, the special investigator for Burma on the UN Commission on Human Rights.
“It is not only the country’s human rights situation that has not improved. The country’s political, economic and social situation has even worsened in the past 30 years,” U Lwin told the AP.
Pinheiro last visited Burma in November 2003 and had not been allowed to enter the country since. UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan’s special envoy to Burma, Razali Ismail, also has not been permitted to visit Burma since early this year.
The junta hardened its position after putting Suu Kyi, the 1991 Nobel Peace Prize winner, in detention in May 2003 following a violent clash between her followers and government supporters. After a period of imprisonment she was put under house arrest.
The European Union has given Burma until October 8 to release her or face further sanctions. It has already imposed a travel ban on Burma’s military leaders and frozen their financial assets in Europe.
“So far there have been no indications when Aung San Suu Kyi will be released,” Pinheiro said in his report. He said he is also concerned that only a small number of the more than 1,300 political dissidents, described as security detainees, have been freed.
Suu Kyi’s party won a massive victory in the 1990 general election but was not allowed to take power by the junta, which seized control in 1988 after brutally suppressing mass pro-democracy protests.
Pinheiro said that since the start of the year, he has received several reports “about continuing arrests and harsh sentences for peaceful political activities” in Burma.