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Published: Monday, 10/27/2003

Injustice in Myanmar

The Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation organization and its member nations would do well to put pressure on the former Burmese country now called Myanmar to release pro-democracy leader Aung Sung Suu Kyi.

Washington is doing its part. The Bush Administration is pressuring Myanmar's neighboring Southeast Asian countries to free the opposition leader and “restore the democratic process,” as Secretary of State Colin Powell said.

Ms. Suu Kyi is a 1991 Nobel Peace Prize laureate who has sacrificed her own personal freedom and family life by dedicating herself to bringing democracy to her country, northwest of Thailand.

Since an uprising five months ago in which 70 people were killed and Ms. Suu Kyi, the National League for Democracy leader, was hurt, she has been in the custody of Myanmar's military government.

The military junta, which has ruled the nation since 1988, has basically ignored international calls to let her go. That is hardly surprising since it also ignored the results of free elections held way back in 1990.

Mr. Powell went to Thailand prior to the APEC summit in Bangkok to meet Pacific Rim foreign ministers. President Bush, who also traveled to Asia, and Secretary Powell must continue to press the issue of Ms. Suu Kyi's release with the foreign governments and heads of state in that organization and elsewhere.

No one should be satisfied as long as Ms. Suu Kyi is in military custody. The Asian nations must join their international counterparts and apply more pressure to Myanmar's military government.

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