Peters fails the democracy test on Burma

Green Foreign Affairs Spokesperson Keith Locke is disappointed that Foreign Minister Winston Peters did not call for the release of democracy leader Aung San Sun Kyi in the press statement he issued following his dialogue in Manila yesterday with Burmese foreign minister U Nyan Win.

“The release of Aung San Suu Kyi is the key to any real movement towards democracy, and this is the number one point we should be making – both publicly and privately – when we meet with the Burmese leaders,” mr Locke says.

“Earlier this year, Amnesty International denounced the latest extension of Aung San Suu Kyi’s eleven and half years in detention as a decision that ‘highlights’ the deteriorating human rights situation in Burma. ‘People from all walks of life, including journalists, students, teachers, nuns, monks and farmers,’ Amnesty International went to say, ‘are serving long prison sentences for acts of peaceful dissent.’

“Mr Peters rightly referred to the need for the junta to implement its seven-point road map for a return to democracy, first announced over four years ago.

“However, without the release of the recognised leader of the Burmese democracy movement, the regime’s road map is largely a smokescreen for continued military rule, and the oppression of the Burmese people,” Mr Locke says.