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Burma: The spirit of 2007 revived

Burma: The spirit of 2007 revived

The Asian Human Rights Commission shares the excitement felt worldwide at the release of Burma’s unrivalled symbol of democracy and hope for the future, Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, and at her first public speech in many years, held at the headquarters of the National League for Democracy in Rangoon on 14 November 2010.

The contrast between the rapturous reception that Aung San Suu Kyi received from thousands of people who gathered to hear her speak and the almost universal contempt for the military regime in Burma could not be starker. Whereas the uniformed men--some now in mufti--who have enslaved and impoverished their country for the last half century can assemble people only via methods of coercion, manipulation and fraud, the people who came to hear Suu Kyi speak on Sunday did so spontaneously and joyously. The gathering had in it the spirit of the September 2007 monk-led uprising against military rule, and showed clearly that it is only a matter of time before people in Burma arise again to demand an end to the ineptitude, nepotism and contempt for humanity that has characterized government in their country for far too long.

There is a great deal for Aung San Suu Kyi and the people of Burma to do, and many uncertain days ahead, as she herself acknowledged in her speech and in an interview with the BBC Burmese Service shortly afterwards. She has identified the rule of law as a major issue for the country to address if it is to move forward: a point not lost on the AHRC, which has worked consistently on rule of law issues in Burma for a number of years. There are also calls for a new project for national reconciliation among ethnic minority groups, and for the release of all political detainees. There are many questions about how she and her party will situate themselves with the inauguration of a new military-run national parliament.

The time will come for all these. Today the Asian Human Rights Commission celebrates the inaugural speech of Daw Aung San Suu Kyi since her release, the revival of the 2007 spirit, and reaffirms its own commitment to work with people in Burma and concerned persons abroad for the emergence of a new era in which human rights are respected and the enormous potential that this country has can at last be realized. On this important occasion, the AHRC joins with individuals and organisations around the world to wish the people of Burma the very best for the future, and to share in aspirations that what will come can--and must--be different from what has been.


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