Myanmar Security Council voices concern over detention of prodemocracy leader

22 May 2009The Security Council today expressed its concern over the political impact in Myanmar of the detention of opposition leader and Nobel Peace Prize laureate Aung San Suu Kyi. In a press statement, the 15-member body reiterated “the importance of the release of all political prisoners,” repeating the need for Myanmar’s Government to “create the necessary conditions for a genuine dialogue with Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and all concerned parties and ethnic groups in order to achieve an inclusive national reconciliation with the support of the United Nations.”Security forces arrested Aung San Suu Kyi, who leads the National League for Democracy (NLD), and two aides on 14 May and took them to Insein Prison, where they were charged by a special court. They are said to have been charged with violating the terms of her house arrest, after an uninvited United States citizen gained access to their home, and her trial is currently under way.Last week, High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay said that “her continued detention, and now this latest trial, breach international standards of due process and fair trial.”It had been hoped that she would be released when her current detention order, which has already continued for one year longer than the maximum of five years permitted under Myanmar’s laws, expires at the end of this month.“The Myanmar authorities might claim Aung San Suu Kyi has breached the conditions of her detention, but they have broken both their own laws and their international human rights obligations,” Ms. Pillay said. “She should not be detained in the first place.” She has spent over 12 years under house arrest. On 30 May 2003, she was re-arrested under a law which states that a person “suspected of having committed or believed to be about to commit, any act which endangers the sovereignty and security of the state” can be detained. In May 2007, the Government extended her arrest for another year, bringing her detention to the five-year limit, and her detention was prolonged for sixth year last May.