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UNION OF MYANMAR: Myanmar: Prompt action needed from ASEAN countries

27 Sep 2007
Region: UNION OF MYANMAR
Topic: Individual at risk
Members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) meeting in New York today must take prompt and effective action to protect the right to peaceful demonstration in Myanmar and avoid further escalation of violence and human rights violations, Amnesty International's Secretary General Irene Khan said in an open letter today.
Following reports of the killing of up to nine demonstrators, Amnesty International remains gravely concerned that peaceful protests by tens of thousands calling for reform in Myanmar are being met with escalating violent repression that will aggravate an already grave human rights situation and pose serious threats to peace and security in ASEAN and the wider region.

"The current situation demands resolute interventions to prevent the threat of massive human rights violations. By using its influence to ensure the Myanmar authorities respect human rights, ASEAN will send a crucial signal to its member states and the world that it is committed to the protection and promotion of human rights," said Ms. Khan.

Ms. Khan urged ASEAN leaders to address the outstanding human rights issues in the country, including the long-term suppression of freedom of expression. ASEAN leaders should also pressure the Myanmar authorities for the unconditional and immediate release all those arbitrarily detained in the peaceful demonstrations calling for political change which began in August sparked by a sharp increase in fuel prices.

"This is particularly pertinent as the Foreign Ministers are meeting in New York to discuss, among other issues, the draft of an ASEAN Charter enshrining common standards of behaviour for all member states," Ms. Khan said.

ASEAN leaders have a responsibility to put pressure on the Myanmar authorities to resolve the current crisis without resort to violence.

Ms. Khan reminded ASEAN leaders of their 1967 founding Declaration which states that the aims and purposes of the Association include the “promotion of regional peace and stability through abiding respect for justice and the rule of law in the relationship among countries in the region and adherence to the principles of the United Nations Charter”.
AI Index: ASA 16/012/2007
27 September 2007

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