Tuesday, May 19, 2009

UN envoy delivers message to Burma junta

(DVB)–The United Nations envoy to Burma has said that the international community, including the UN, should step up pressure on the regime to ensure unwarranted charges against Aung San Suu Kyi are dropped.

Suu Kyi’s second day of court hearings began at around 10am this morning. She faces charges of breaching her house arrest after US citizen John Yettaw swam to her lakeside home earlier this month.

The UN human rights envoy to Burma, Tomas Ojea Quintana, said however that the charges are unsubstantiated.

“The message to the government is first that this new file has to be dismissed immediately, because there are no grounds at all,” he said.

“She cannot be accused of any crime at all.”

Quintana reiterated a comment he made last week that the breach of security achieved by Yettaw is a fault of the government, and not Suu Kyi or her caretakers, who are also on trial for the incident.

“The responsibility regarding the security and the conditions of the her house arrest lie in the government,” he said.

“She was under government custody, therefore the government is responsible for the security conditions.

“That’s very important because her case under these circumstances requires all the attention from all of the world.”

Similarly, the now exiled former Burmese ambassador to the United States implied that Yettaw’s breach could have been allowed by security in order to give the government an excuse to continue her detention, which was due to expire on 27 May.

“There are about 250 security personnel around Daw Suu’s house, including three outposts guarding the neighbourhood, the road at the front and Inya lake,” said Aung Linn Htut.

“It is no way possible for someone to infiltrate such heavy security.”

Quintana called upon international leaders to increase their demands for her release in light of the spiraling humanitarian situation there.

“It is very clear for me that these new circumstances against Suu Kyi are a message that the human rights situation is getting worse in the country,” he said.

“I am calling all the members of the United Nations Human Rights Council to raise their voices in favor of her release.”

Reporting by Nay Htoo

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