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Re-arrest of Aung San Suu Kyi a backward step

Re-arrest of Aung San Suu Kyi a backward step

Foreign Minister Phil Goff today condemned the re-arrest of Aung San Suu Kyi and the closure of the offices of her National League for Democracy (NLD) party in Myanmar.

“In the 12 years since the military overturned the democratic election of the NLD and first arrested Aung San Suu Kyi, political freedom has been heavily curtailed and the economy of Myanmar has stagnated.

“I welcomed her release from house arrest in May last year and I urged Myanmar's State Peace and Development Council (SPDC) to release the many other political prisoners which it was holding, and to implement long-overdue political and economic reforms."

“The SPDC has now, however, moved even further away from democratic reform by arresting Aung San Suu Kyi and 19 members of the NLD in the guise of taking them into ‘temporary protective custody’.

“I understand that these events have followed weeks of rising tension between her supporters and the regime. Her latest tour around the country has attracted huge crowds of up to 20,000, indicating widespread support for change and the restoration of democracy.

"There have been frequent reports of SPDC interference and harassment, culminating in a violent clash on Friday that left a number of people dead and injured.

“New Zealand joins the United Nations Secretary General and other countries in expressing concern for Aung San Suu Kyi’s welfare and calling for her immediate release," Mr Goff said.

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