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6-12 December: Daw Aung San Suu Kyi Works To Make Reconciliation in Burma a Reality

December 13, 2010

In the month following her release from more than 15 years of unjust captivity over the last 21 years, Daw Aung San Suu Kyi has demonstrated through words and actions why she continues to be a powerful force for social and political progress. While the State Peace and Development Council (SPDC) has maintained its authoritarian command to gain greater personal profit and perpetual military rule, Daw Aung San Suu Kyi has displayed even handed leadership in the nation’s struggle for democracy, ethnic equality and inclusive development. Daw Aung San Suu Kyi’s efforts not only underscore the flaws of the SPDC’s unilateral “Roadmap to Democracy,” but also illuminate a real path towards national reconciliation.

The day after her release, Daw Aung San Suu Kyi proved immediately that she has the firm domestic and international support to facilitate the cooperation and compromise necessary to bring about national reconciliation. She delivered a speech before thousands of ardent supporters and met with hundreds of youth and women activists and political leaders and approximately 30 foreign diplomats. The SPDC, meanwhile, was busy tallying the fraudulent votes of the undemocratic elections that failed to gain popular support and international legitimacy.

Daw Aung San Suu Kyi – visiting an HIV/AIDS shelter and meeting with the families of political prisoners – has taken on Burma’s real issues and sought out the assistance of independent election candidates, as well as the international community, in developing practical solutions to address the needs of the people of Burma.  The SPDC’s media machine continues to churn out alternate reality propaganda, downplaying social problems while censoring news about socially active citizens.

Daw Aung San Suu Kyi has continued to meet with foreign officials and representatives, such as the US deputy assistant secretary of state for East Asian and Pacific affairs and South Africa’s ambassador to Thailand, and communicated with world leaders, including UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, Philippine President Benigno Aquino III, and former British Prime Minister Gordon Brown. She has actively engaged citizens, the media, and international organizations, participating in a weekly radio question and answer program and delivering messages in international forums. However, the SPDC has ignored worldwide calls for reform and maintained its oppressive policies, including the continued detention of political prisoners and journalists.

Daw Aung Suu Kyi’s agreement to work together with ethnic leaders towards a second Panglong Conference exemplifies her pursuit of the dialogue and collaboration that Burma needs to solve its political stalemate. The SPDC warned against the proposal through state-run media, suggesting it would occur “without the [military]” and “do more harm than good.”

As ethnic leader Pu Cin Sian Thang, a spokesperson for the United Nationalities Alliance was quick to point out that the SPDC’s fears are unfounded. “The Panglong spirit is about achieving national unity, and this can’t be done without the [military].” The ongoing conflict in Eastern Burma illustrates the violent failure of the SPDC’s unilateral policies and the need for genuine tripartite solutions, of which the SPDC cannot even conceive, much less lead.

Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and Pu Cin Sian Thang understand what the SPDC does not – national reconciliation requires all stakeholders to engage in dialogue and participate in the political process. The military has blocked genuine dialogue and suppressed both the democratic and ethnic forces for decades. The international community must sustain the ongoing efforts of Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and other ethnic leaders, who are providing more than merely hope; they are actively developing the plans and building the foundation for Burma’s democratic future.

News Highlights

SPDC media reports 7 November election voter turnout at 77%

Fighting continues between the SPDC and Democratic Karen Buddhist Army (DKBA) 5th Brigade, forcing civilians from the Waw Lay area of Karen State to flee Thailand

All Burma Students’ Democratic Front prepares to fight alongside DKBA 5th Brigade in Eastern Burma

Inside Burma

NLD in Arakan State distributes donations from Daw Aung San Suu Kyi to villages hit hard by Cyclone Giri

Daw Aung San Suu Kyi participates in religious services, gives robes to monks and nuns

Party sources indicate Daw Aung San Suu Kyi plans to sell postcards of seven paintings she drew while in detention to raise funds for social welfare activities

SPDC authorities deny family visits for political prisoner on hunger strike

New Mon State Party refutes SPDC claim of participation in arms handover

Shan Nationals Democratic Party makes plans to hold party conference

China signs US $2.4 billion loan agreement with SPDC for gas pipeline construction

Senior US diplomat meets with representatives of ten political parties who won seats in the elections; also meets with SPDC FM Nyan Win

Regional

Thai MP urges Thai authorities to provide protection and assistance to civilians from Burma who are fleeing fighting into Thailand

Burma reopens Three Pagodas Pass checkpoint after two-year closure

Burma and Thai FMs meet in Tachilek to discuss trade

International

Leaked US diplomatic cables note reports of secret North Korean construction in Burma, heightening fears of nuclear weapons; show China’s frustration with SPDC, US disappointment with UN envoy Gambari

Daw Aung San Suu Kyi wants India to play a ‘more active’ role in Burma’s democratization

US Congressman Joseph Crowley speaks with Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, urges international community to ensure her safety

Radio Free Asia begins weekly Q and A program with Daw Aung San Suu Kyi

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This post is in: Weekly Highlights