Myanmar let off hook again

HUA HIN (Thailand) – ASIAN leaders barely mentioned Myanmar democracy icon Aung San Suu Kyi at a weekend summit, making a mockery of the region’s grand claims for its new rights body, analysts said.

Leaders of the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean), which includes Myanmar, devoted just three lines to the military-ruled nation’s political situation in the nine pages of their final declaration.

While the statement called for elections promised by the junta in 2010 to be ‘fair, free, inclusive and transparent”, it made no mention of the opposition leader, who has been detained for 14 of the past 20 years.

The summit at the Thai resort of Hua Hin opened with the inauguration of Asean’s first human rights body, hailed by members as ‘historic’ but widely derided by activists, given the lack of action on Myanmar.

‘The whole thing is a bit of a farce,’ David Mathieson, a Myanmar expert at Human Rights Watch, told AFP. ‘There were pretty low expectations for the human rights commission and Asean has probably fulfilled these expectations. There’s no way Asean can maintain any credibility while kowtowing to the Burmese leaders.’

Burma is Myanmar’s former name. Suu Kyi had her house arrest extended in August for 18 months after she was convicted over an incident in which an American man swam uninvited to her home and it effectively keeps her out of the way for next year’s elections. –

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