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Friday, April 9, 1999 Published at 12:24 GMT 13:24 UK

World: Asia-Pacific

'Bad year for Burma'

Aung San Suu Kyi told the UN that oppression had become worse

By South-East Asia Correspondent Simon Ingram

The Burmese opposition leader, Aung San Suu Kyi, says the human rights situation in the country has deteriorated sharply in the past year, and has urged the international community to exert greater pressure on the military government.

Aung San Suu Kyi: "The human rights situation has deteriorated very badly"
Ms Suu Kyi's comments came in a secretly-recorded message to the United Nations Commission on Human Rights, which is holding its annual meeting in Geneva this week.

Thanks for support

Aung San Suu Kyi expressed gratitude for the support the outside world had given to the Burmese opposition and to its campaign to restore democratic rule. But she said the world had not fully grasped the extent of the oppression being carried out by the military regime.

Many members of the National League for Democracy had been detained, she said, along with over 150 elected deputies from the aborted 1990 election in which the NLD won a big majority.

The party, Ms Suu Kyi said, had suffered far more in the past 12 months than it had in the previous six or seven years put together.

Call for action

"What we need now is more than just mere words," Miss Suu Kyi said.

"We need concrete action, because our people are suffering not just from an onslaught of words, but from the deprivation of basic justice in our country."

The NLD leader urged this week's session of the Human Rights Commission in Geneva to draw up a firm resolution to protect the basic rights of the people of Burma.

Ms Suu Kyi's call comes amid continued political deadlock in the country. It is sure to further enrage a regime whose hardline strategy against dissent was again on display last month, when it denied Miss Suu Kyi's dying husband, Michael Aris, a visa that would have allowed him a final reunion with his wife.

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