Wednesday September 19th 2018

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Enough is Enough, Its Time for UN to Act Immediately

WLB calls on the International Community to press for Than Shwe’s Referral to International Criminal Court

Language: Burmese (pdf)

Burma’s national democratic leader and Nobel Peace Laureate Daw Aung San Suu Kyi has been put in the notorious Insein Prison to stand trial on new charges by the military authority. This act of the regime provoked widespread outrages globally.

Daw Aung San Suu Kyi has been unjustly detained already for the last 13 years. Later this month her current period of detention expires. Even recently the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention said that her current detention violates both international and Burmese local law.

While Daw Aung San Suu Kyi is the most visible of Burma’s prisoners of conscience, there are more than 2,100 political prisoners remain in jail, in conditions far more brutal than anyone can expect. Many of these political prisoners are suffering from horrific torture, denial of medical treatment and refusal of visits from family. They are jailed in remote locations hundreds of miles away from relatives. Since 1988, at least 138 political prisoners have died in jails.

Elected Shan Member of Parliament Khun Tun Oo was jailed for 93 years in 2005. Last year, 88 generation Student leader Min Ko Naing and Nilar Thein, female student leader are jailed for 65 years each. Comedian Zarganar is serving 35 years imprisonment for organizing relief for the victims of Cyclone Nargis.

Moreover the military regime has been carrying out a campaign of ethnic cleansing against the Karen, Karenni and Shan peoples in eastern Burma for the last decades. More than 3,000 villages have been destroyed and a million people driven from their homes into hiding, without food, medicine or shelter. Rape is used as a weapon of war, forced labour is widespread and the use of human minesweepers common. It has the highest number of forcibly conscripted child soldiers in the world.

Since 1992, United Nations Resolutions and Reports have repeatedly expressed grave concern about these ongoing violations and have called upon the regime to end impunity. Yet, the military regime has ignored more than 30 U.N. resolutions most of which include a call for an independent investigation of crimes such as the rapes by the military of ethnic women.

East Timor President Jose Ramos-Horta has recently warned that his government will urge the Internal Criminal Court (ICC)’s Chief Prosecutor to investigate General Than Shwe and other top Burmese generals who are responsible of killings and other crimes for many years if the regime does not release Daw Aung San Suu Kyi.

Women’s League of Burma (WLB) welcomes his strong warning statement as a Nobel laureate and world leader.

The time has come to say enough is enough. It is time for the UN to invoke its Responsibility to Protect mechanism, to impose an arms embargo on the regime and establish a commission of inquiry to investigate crimes against humanity in Burma.

We strongly call on the international community to press for the referral of General Than Shwe and his cronies to prosecute at the ICC for all crimes including vicious attempt to imprison Nobel Laureate Daw Aung San Suu Kyi.