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Tuesday, March 24

Labour welcomes UN decision on Aung San Suu Kyi

Labour welcomed the release today of the decision of the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention that the on-going house arrest of Burmese democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi is illegal under both international and Burmese law.

“We join with the UN in calling for Aung San Suu Kyi to be released from her house arrest. It is totally unacceptable that she has been held for so long without any charge or reason, no opportunity for review and with limited access to the outside world.”, Grant Robertson, Labour Associate Foreign Affairs Spokesperson said.

The UN Working Group is a sub-committee of the UN Human Rights Council. It has previously issued four opinions that Aung San Suu Kyi’s detention contravened international law, but this is the first time they have declared her detention to have violated Burmese law. The law under which she has been imprisoned allows for detention for five years. This expired in May 2008.

“The Burmese government needs to listen to the international community. The law they have invoked is for people who represent a danger to the security of the State. There is no way that anyone can seriously believe that Aung San Suu Kyi represents a danger. In any case, it has now expired and she should be released”.

Also released today were further decisions relating to the detention of four political activists in Burma. The Working Group also concluded that their detention breached the UN Declaration of Human Rights.

“The people of Burma deserve the right to be able to express their opinions freely. They also deserve a right to a proper judicial process when they have been arrested. These basic rights are being ignored.”

“We urge the National Government to communicate with the Burmese authorities the importance of adhering to international law, and to upholding the rights of its citizens, and to release Aung San Su Kyi and others who are being illegally detained.” Grant Robertson said.

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