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UA 379/92 - Myanmar (Burma): prisoner of conscience / health concern: Daw Aung San Suu Kyi

, N° d'index: ASA 16/015/1992

AI is concerned about the well-being of Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, a founder member of the National League for Democracy held under house arrest without charge or trial since July 1989. She has been held incommunicado for most of that time, apart from two brief visits from her family earlier this year. Daw Aung San Suu Kyi has consistently refused to accept food and other necessities from the authorities and her own resources are now believed to be running out. She has been refused access to a doctor of her choice. AI fears that her health may now deteriorate.

EXTERNAL (for general distribution) AI Index: ASA 16/15/92
Distr: UA/SC
UA 379/92 Prisoner of Conscience/Health Concern 1 December 1992
MYANMAR (BURMA): Daw Aung San Suu Kyi (female)
Amnesty International is gravely concerned about the well-being of Daw Aung
San Suu Kyi, a prisoner of conscience who has been detained under house arrest
without charge or trial since July 1989. She has been held in incommunicado
detention for most of that time, the only exception being when members of her
family were twice allowed to visit her briefly earlier this year. Recent
information received by the organization indicates that Daw Aung San Suu Kyi
continues to be held in almost complete isolation and that her health may
seriously deteriorate.
Daw Aung San Suu Kyi has consistently refused to accept food and other
necessities from the authorities, and Amnesty International understands her
own resources are now running out. She has been refused access to the doctor
of her choice, in contravention of the United Nations Body of Principles for
the Protection of Persons under Any Form of Detention or Imprisonment.
On 18 September 1988, after months of nationwide demonstrations protesting
26 years of one-party military rule, the military reasserted its control in
a coup. Before and during the coup, hundreds of peaceful demonstrators were
killed by security forces. Martial Law was introduced and severe restrictions
imposed prohibiting "political gatherings" and other basic freedoms. Daw Aung
San Suu Kyi - daughter of Aung San who is regarded as the father of Burmese
independence - was one of the founding leaders of the National League for
Democracy (NLD), Myanmar's largest opposition party, which was formed at this
time. She was its General Secretary at the time of her arrest on 20 July 1989.
Although the NLD went on to win the May 1990 general elections, the State Law
and Order Restoration Council (SLORC), Myanmar's ruling military authorities,
has ignored the results of the election and continues to retain power itself.
In June 1989, Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and General Tin U - the Chairperson of the
NLD - had been calling for non-violent resistance to Martial Law. She always
insisted that the gatherings they organized should be non-violent. The military
authorities reacted to these demonstrations by arresting hundreds of people.
On 19 July 1989 Daw Aung San Suu Kyi called off a planned march to commemorate
Martyr' Day, because of reports that lines of troops were blocking the route,
and because she feared for the safety of demonstrators. On 20 July 1989 she
was placed under house arrest. She is held under the administrative detention
provisions of the 1975 State Protection Law, which concerns supposed threats
to state security. In August 1991 the SLORC amended this law to extend the
time people can be detained without charge or trial from three years to five
years.
Despite the announcement by the SLORC in April 1992 that they will release
all political prisoners who are not deemed a threat to national security, the
authorities have reiterated earlier comments that Daw Aung San Suu Kyi will
not be released unless she agrees to leave the country. Over 1000 prisoners
have so far been released, but it is believed that this is only a small proportion
of those detained.
Daw Aung San Suu Kyi was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize on 10 December 1991
for her work for human rights. She had previously been awarded the Rafto Human
Rights Prize in Norway (November 1990) and the European Parliament's human
rights award, the Sakharov Prize (January 1991). More recently, in
Page 2 of UA 379/92
June 1992 she was awarded UNESCO's Simon Bolivar prize for human rights
campaigning, shared with former Tanzanian president Julius Nyerere.
RECOMMENDED ACTION: Please send telegrams/telexes/faxes/express and airmail
letters either in English or in your own language:
- expressing concern about the health of Daw Aung San Suu Kyi who has been
held in incommunicado detention without charge or trial for over three years;
- urging that she be granted free access to a doctor of her choice;
- appealing for her immediate and unconditional release.
APPEALS TO
1. General Than Shwe Salutation: Dear General
Chairman
State Law and Order Restoration Council
c/o Ministry of Defence
Signal Pagoda Road
Yangon
Union of Myanmar
Telegrams: General Than Shwe, Yangon, Myanmar
Telexes: 21313 MOFARN BM
2. Major General Khin Nyunt Salutation: Dear Major General
Secretary 1
State Law and Order Restoration Council
c/o Ministry of Defence
Signal Pagoda Road
Yangon
Union of Myanmar
Telegrams: Major General Khin Nyunt, Yangon, Myanmar
COPIES OF YOUR APPEALS TO: diplomatic representatives of Myanmar accredited
to your country.
PLEASE SEND APPEALS IMMEDIATELY. Check with the International Secretariat,
or your section office, if sending appeals after 12 January 1993.

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