Aung San Suu Kyi Signals Threat to Boycott Myanmar Election

December 20, 2013

Freedom News reported the story

Aung San Suu Kyi Signals Threat to Boycott Myanmar Election.

The extended struggles of the Myanmar regime continue. The announcement places as the key point for negotiation the right for Suu Kyi to stand for President.

The similarities with the ‘long road to freedom’ in South Africa have been noticed.


Is Myanmar edging towards democracy?

June 8, 2013

There have been acclaimed signs of movement towards democracy in Myanmar. But racial tensions will present familiar challenges for any new non-military leadership

According to the BBC The head of the UK’s armed forces, General Sir David Richards, is visiting Burma [June 2013] to try to build ties with the country’s powerful military. He also met President Thein Sein (a former General) and leaders of the opposition including Aung San Suu Kyi for ‘serious talks’ on support short of lifting UN sanctions.

Steps to democracy

The release from house arrest of Aung San Suu Kyi and her swearing into Parliament [2012] were given global significance as steps in Myanmar towards democracy.

Under Imperial rule, Burma was treated as an outpost of the British Empire. Regional rule was operated from India, which still shows considerable interest in its Commonwealth partner.

Racial tensions

However, the country still faces the challenges of racial tensions as complex and arguably as intractable as those in The Middle East. The Indian Express outlines the tensions that have bubbled over in Malaysia.

Malaysian police said today they had detained more than 900 Myanmar nationals in a security sweep after at least two were killed last week in clashes believed to be linked to sectarian violence back home.
The two dead were likely to have been Myanmar Buddhists.. and the attacks were [reported as] believed to be the result of violence in Myanmar.
Deadly sectarian strife pitting Myanmar’s majority Buddhists against the Muslim ethnic Rohingya minority has flared since last year, in the country’s western state of Rakhine.
Myanmar called on Malaysia to take action against those responsible for the attacks and protect Myanmar citizens. U Maung Hla, who heads the Burma Refugee Organisation in Malaysia, said violence between exiled Myanmar communities here was not uncommon and was “sometimes due to religion.” The Rohingya have been described by the United Nations as one of the world’s most persecuted minorities. About 800,000 are estimated to live in Myanmar, which denies them citizenship, rendering them stateless.

The long walk

The democratic vision is that Aung San Suu Kyi will lead her country in the fashion of a 21st century Mandela or Gandhi (the two leaders she most publically admires). It is likely to be a long walk to freedom.

Breaking News: Aung San Suu Kyi is sworn in to Parliament

May 2, 2012

In an historic and symbolic moment, Pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi entered parliament in Myanmar [Formerly Burma] to be sworn in to public office. Her personal and political struggle has lasted more than two decades against authoritarian rule, which she has spent mostly under house arrest

The Nobel Peace Prize winner signed a registration book inside the building before taking an oath as a member of parliament. This followed some resistance after her election victory, as Myanmar’s nominally civilian government continues to make reforms.

The Wall Street Journal was one of the first to break the news in the Western media.

Aung San Suu Kyi has recently been receiving increased attention from Western political leaders, including David Cameron and Nicholas Sarcosy.

The Myanmar Times reported this week [April 30 – May 6th 2012]

UN leader Ban Ki-moon on April 23 called for a “harmonious” deal allowing Daw Aung San Suu Kyi to take an oath and enter parliament, ahead of his visit this week.
Mr Ban was expected to arrive in Yangon on April 29 to meet with Daw Aung San Suu Kyi for the first time as well as President U Thein Sein. Mr Ban told reporters Myanmar’s transition has reached “a critical moment”.

“Now is the time for the international community to stand together at Myanmar’s side,” he added, hailing “landmark” by-elections on April 1. “But this fresh start is fragile.”
The UN secretary-general welcomed moves by the European Union and United States to suspend sanctions and said he would discuss ways the United Nations could help the country. “They deserve our full support,” he said.

Asked about a dispute between Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and the president over taking the oath of office, Ban said: “I sincerely hope they are able to find a mutually harmonious way to have smooth proceedings of the parliament.”

The dispute is the first sign of tension with the government since the democracy icon’s electoral victory.

We earlier reported her release from house arrest as “a Mandela moment”.

The New York Times gave a cautious welcome to her swearing in:

Daw Aung San Suu Kyi’s long resistance to Myanmar’s brutal dictatorship gave her people — and the world — hope that her country would someday be free. Her swearing in this week as a member of Myanmar’s Parliament is an important step forward, but the struggle to establish a real democracy is not over.