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Burma Anniversary

In its current session, the United Nations Security Council is discussing Burma. The Security Council recognizes that the Burmese military regime's repression of the National League for Democracy, or N-L-D, and other independent voices in Burma is having an impact on regional stability.

The regime's misguided policies, including continuing military attacks against ethnic minority groups, are resulting in increasing numbers of internally displaced people and refugees, large-scale narcotics and human trafficking, and the unimpeded spread of communicable diseases, such as HIV/AIDS.

U.S. State Department spokesman Sean McCormack commented on the U-N Security Council's action:

"That is an important new development. And it's a step. I grant you it is only a step but it is an important step. We're going to continue to speak out about the importance of a real full-fledged democracy taking root in Burma."

Despite the N-L-D's "decisive victory in Burma's 1990 national election," says Mr. McCormack, "the military junta ruling Burma continues to harass and arrest N-L-D members and refuses to engage the democratically elected representatives of the Burmese people in a meaningful process of political reform."

Some one-thousand-one-hundred pro-democracy activists are detained in Burma. They include Aung San Suu Kyi, the General Secretary of the N-L-D and a winner of the 1991 Nobel Peace Prize. She has been under house arrest for ten of the past 17 years. A one year extension of her detention followed a visit by UN official Ibrahim Gambari, who was the first foreigner to visit Suu Kyi in two years. Other high profile political prisoners include N-L-D vice-chairman U Tin Oo and Hkun Htun Oo, leader of the Shan Nationalities League for Democracy.

State Department spokesman McCormack says the United States "reaffirms its support for Aung San Suu Kyi, the N-L-D, and all those around the world who are working to promote freedom, respect for human rights, and democracy in Burma."

The preceding was an editorial reflecting the views of the United States Government.