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Rights Activists Pressure ASEAN Over Burma - 2004-11-27


Critics of Burma's military government are pressuring the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) to deny Burma its rotating chairmanship in 2006.

Malaysia's opposition leader Lim Kit Siang told a meeting of ASEAN lawmakers and diplomats in Kuala Lumpur today (Saturday) that Burma's march toward democracy is a sham.

He also blasted ASEAN's policy of constructive engagement with Burma's ruling junta.

Mr. Lim says Burma must free pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi from house arrest and introduce substantive democratic reforms before further engagement.

A spokesman for Burma's main opposition party, the National League for Democracy, welcomed the tough talk, but suggested the pressure will fade quickly.

U Lwin said once the ASEAN meeting starts, trade dominates and human rights are pushed to the side.

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