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Burma's Suu Kyi urges international

Subject: Burma's Suu Kyi urges international action to protect  her party

      Burma's Suu Kyi urges international action to protect
      her party
      April 8, 1997
      2.09 p.m. EDT (1809 GMT)

      BANGKOK, Thailand (AP) -- Appealing for international help, Burmese
      leader Aung San Suu Kyi said in a smuggled videotape shown Tuesday
that members
      of her political party are facing increasing persecution. 

      "We need maximum attention on what is happening'' to the National
League for
      Democracy, Suu Kyi said, "because it is an indication of how far the
authorities are
      prepared to go to prevent democracy from taking root in Burma.'' 

      Since May 1996, Burma's military government has staged a series of
      harsh crackdowns on Suu Kyi's party, arresting hundreds and sentencing
many to
      long prison terms. 

      She said several party members have been forced to resign under
threats from the
      government and other have been rounded up by the army and used to carry
      equipment in battle zones. 

      The tape, seen in Bangkok, was also shown in Geneva during a break in
the annual
      meeting of the U.N. Human Rights Commission. 

      "I put the political rights of the National League for Democracy and
others working
      for democracy in Burma as the most important item on the agenda of the
      Rights Commission,'' the 1991 Nobel Peace Prize winner said. 

      Burma's military regime has denied a U.N. human rights investigator
access to the
      country. Messages from Suu Kyi have become increasingly rare. Her
      have been severely restricted since late last year. 

      The tape was made before a parcel bomb exploded Sunday night at the
home of Lt.
      Gen. Tin Oo, one of the most powerful generals of the ruling State Law
and Order
      Restoration Council. The general's eldest daughter was killed, but he
escaped injury.
      The bombing has raised speculation of a power struggle in the ruling
junta, though
      no firm evidence has emerged. 

      No one has claimed responsibility for the blast, but Burmese
authorities said
      Tuesday that the bomb was airmailed from Japan, and they suspected
      anti-government groups. 

      A government statement said investigators had found "reasons to
believe that the
      bomb plot was masterminded by some anti-(Burmese) government groups within

      Rebel groups have denied responsibility. Leaders of Suu Kyi's
      movement have called the attack "cowardly.'' 

      In Tokyo, a Foreign Ministry official who spoke on customary condition of
      anonymity said the ministry was waiting for more information before
      whether to ask police to investigate. 

      In the videotape, Suu Kyi said her party's rights were of paramount
      because all other democratic political parties operating on a national
level in Burma
      had been crushed. 

      The League for Democracy won 82 percent of the vote in a 1990 national
      that the military refused to honor. 

      A U.N. General Assembly resolution that year called on Burma's
authorities to
      respect the election results and institute democracy. Suu Kyi urged
the United
      Nations to see that the resolution was implemented. 

      Suu Kyi also urged the Thai government to stop forcing Karen refugees
back to
      Burma and to allow the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees to help them. 

      More than 15,000 Karens have fled a recent Burmese army offensive,
joining an
      estimated 70,000 refugees from Burma already living in Thailand. The Thai
      government has refused the UNHCR access to the camps, and has denied
      anyone back. 

      The refugees, Thai village militiamen and some Thai soldiers have told The
      Associated Press that refugees have been forced back.