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Australian Foreign Affairs - News R

Subject: Australian Foreign Affairs - News Release.

Australian Dept Foreign Affairs and Trade - Senator Evans Media Release - 

22 June 1995

This week Daw Aung Sang Suu Kyi had her fiftieth birthday under house 
arrest in Rangoon.  It is now almost six years since her detention began 
at the instigation of the military authorities in Myanmar and that detention
continues to generate international outrage and disgust.  By the most 
generous reading of Myanmar law, any formal authority for Aung Sang Suu 
Kyi's detention expires on 19 July, but all the present signs are that the
SLORC governing regime will simply ignore that constraint.

The unhappy reality is that, despite the widespread concerns expressed by 
the international community - and a major effort, since the ASEAN 
Regional Forum Meeting last year, to bring  to bear more united pressure from
Europe, North America, Australia and Burma's Asian neighbours - there has 
been no discernible improvement in the overall political or humanitarian 
situations in Myanmar.  Political liberties are still denied and human rights
are severely restricted.

Those political prisoners who have been released have not been allowed to 
resume political activity, and many others remain in detention.  Military 
force is still being used as the norm for bringing dissenters into line.  
In few other countries, in Asia or eleswhere, is political freedom so 

The Australian Government is presently reviewing our policy approach 
before the issue is discussed again with ASEAN and its dialogue partners 
at the annual round of Ministerial meetings in August.

All of us in the international community hope that there will be by then 
some concrete improvements in the Myanmar situation, including in 
particular the release of Aung Sang Suu Kyi.  But the record of the past 
several years does not leave much grounds for optimism on this score.