Fri 29 Oct 2004
Filed under: International,News
The United States urged India Thursday to convey to Myanmar’s military strongman Than Shwe, who is on an official visit to New Delhi, international concerns over human right abuses in his country.
“We hope that the government of India will convey to Than Shwe during his visit concerns shared by the international community,” State Department spokesman Richard Boucher said.
He said the Indian government was aware of the concerns, including failure of Than Shwe’s regime to free political prisoners.
Among those detained are democracy icon Aung San Suu Kyi, whose National League for Democracy (NLD) overwhelmingly won 1990 elections later annulled by the military, which has run the country since a 1962 coup.
The United States has accused the junta of carrying out a brutal attack on Aung San Suu Kyi and her convoy on May 30, 2003, which led to her arrest.
Boucher said Indian authorities should also convey to Than Shwe concerns over the failure of his regime to engage in a meaningful dialogue with other political and ethnic leaders to achieve national reconciliation.
The junta should ensure that the fundamental human rights of the people of Myanmar are respected, he said.
Than Shwe has been holding a so-called national convention to frame the country’s constitution but has left out the NLD, whose offices have been shut nationwide.
The general arrived in New Delhi last Sunday with eight cabinet ministers on a six-day visit, the first to India in 24 years by a head of state from the impoverished Southeast Asian nation.
On Wednesday, a US senator said it was appalling that India, the world’s largest democracy, was embracing “one of the world’s most repressive and illegitimate military juntas.”
India once vocally backed Aung San Suu Kyi but under its “Look East” policy launched in the early 1990s, it has been wooing Myanmar’s military leadership and promoting trade and investment.
The United States has imposed trade and investment sanctions against Myanmar.