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Another Jolt To Democracy In Burma

By Bobby Ramakant

11 August, 2009

Despite growing global pressure for the release of pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi in Myanmar (Burma), she was sentenced to another 18 months' house arrest by a court in Rangoon.

"It is another big blow to democracy struggles in Burma" said Dr Sandeep Pandey, Magsaysay Awardee (2002) and leader of National Alliance of People's Movements (NAPM).

Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, a 64 years old Nobel Peace laureate, leads the National League for Democracy (NLD) Party, which had secured 81% of the seats in the parliament in 1989 elections. However, despite of the overwhelming majority in the parliament, she has been in detention for "14 of the last 20 years, mostly under house arrest" (source: BBC).

Aung San Suu Kyi's arrest has triggered a tumultuous response from around the world. The European Union has expressed in a BBC news that it will "respond with additional targeted measures against those responsible for the verdict." In the same news, Australia was quoted to consult the international community, including the Asian regional forum - Association of South East Asian Nations ( ASEAN ), "on the need to put even more pressure on the Burmese regime to move down the path of democracy". Similar statements of support for Aung San Suu Kyi and democracy in Burma came from United States of America (USA), Indonesia, Malaysia, United Kingdom (UK) and France in the said news.

Earlier in May 2009 ( news ), John Willian Yeattaw, a US national, had swam across a lake to meet the opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi at the off-limits compund where she was then under house-arrest. She had, allegedly, allowed him in the house, for which both the US national and Aung San Suu Kyi were charged by the court now. The US national John was sentenced for seven years, including four years of hard labour as per the above mentioned news.

Aung San Suu Kyi's last period of incarceration had expired at the end of May 2009.

The National Alliance of People's Movements (NAPM) in India along with the People's Politics Front (PPF Lok Rajniti Manch) has expressed its grave concern on the setback to democracy struggles in the neighbouring Burma. The NAPM and PPF leaders demanded release of Aung San Suu Kyi and other measures to ensure democratic processes strengthen and go forward in Myanmar.


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