Break the silence over Myanmar

AUNG San Suu Kyi, the charismatic champion of democracy in Myanmar, turned 60 yesterday. This occasion is of no remarkable significance except for the fact that this is yet another birthday the pro-democracy leader has spent in captivity imposed by the country’s junta.

Suu Kyi has spent 10 of the past 16 years, since 1990, in confinement even as the dictators in Yangon have time and again demonstrated their contempt for democracy, basic rights and rule of law.

In response to the impressive victory registered by Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy in 1990, the ruthless Burmese regime threw the Nobel Laureate and hundreds of her supporters into jail. Except for a brief period in 2003, Suu Kyi has remained a prison in her own house and democracy has remained a distant dream for people of Myanmar.

This cruel farce in Myanmar has gone on long enough. About time the world community took steps to pressure the junta to restore democracy, human rights and release all political prisoners. Save for regulation goodwill messages from world leaders, the international community has done little to end the suffering of Myanmar’s people.

The country’s nighbours, in particular, like India, and China and ASEAN, the regional economic bloc, can play a key role in bringing the junta to its knees. The world should not wait for another Suu Kyi birthday to remember the plight of Burmese people.

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