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Suu Kyi marks 1988 uprising

The opposition icon leads hundreds in a moment of silence for those killed by army troops

Michael MacLachlan, London
United Kingdom

August 8, 2011

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As Myanmar’s opposition leader, Aung San Suu Kyi, marked the 23rd anniversary today of a student uprising that brought her to fame, the British rights group Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW) renewed its call for United Nations action against the Yangon regime. On August 8, 1988, student-led protests began against Myanmar's military rulers. They were joined by increasing numbers of people until more than 3,000 were killed in an army crackdown the following month. Suu Kyi marked the anniversary by visiting a Yangon monastery with about 400 people who held a minute’s silence to remember the dead. “I would like you all to think about what has happened and not forget,” Suu Kyi wrote in a guestbook at the monastery. CSW has written to European Union foreign ministers urging them to work for the establishment of a UN commission of inquiry into alleged war crimes and crimes against humanity by the Yangon regime. It held a protest at the German Embassy in London today to urge the Berlin government’s support. “Germany has a special responsibility to ensure that war crimes and crimes against humanity carried out by a brutal military dictatorship are not allowed to go unchecked,” said Benedict Rogers, CSW’s East Asia team leader. Meanwhile, the Myanmar dissident website The Irrawaddy published a commentary yesterday calling on the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) to consider action against the regime. ASEAN has always maintained that the situation in Myanmar is a domestic issue but the regime has asked to take its turn as the chair of Asean in 2014. In view of this, The Irrawaddy said, the regime needs to account for the suppression of the uprising. It urges a public investigation of the killings and of deaths in custody among the thousands arrested after the uprising. It also calls for the release of all remaining political prisoners. “If the Burmese government cannot accomplish these tasks by 2014, ASEAN member countries have the responsibility to bar the country from chairing the bloc,” the article said.
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