Wien, 13 November 2010 Press release

Spindelegger demands full political rights for Aung San Suu Kyi

Foreign Minister denotes end of house arrest as “a first step”

Vienna, 13 November 2010 – Foreign Minister Michael Spindelegger (Austrian People’s Party) has welcomed the end of the house arrest for Burmese opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi and at the same time called for unrestricted political rights for the Nobel laureate. “The end of the house arrest is a first step. The next step should be the full recognition of Aung San Suu Kyi’s political rights”, emphasised Spindelegger in an initial response. “Arbitrariness and political repression against the Burmese opposition leader, who has been deprived of her most basic rights for many years, must now forever come to an end”, declared the Foreign Minister.

He recalled that the Burmese (Myanmar) government had repeatedly been called upon by the UN Security Council to release all political prisoners and enter into a serious dialogue with Aung San Suu Kyi. “Not only the rights of a courageous fighter for freedom and democracy are at stake, but also a better future for the country”, stated Spindelegger.

MP Alexander Van der Bellen, the foreign policy spokesman of the Austrian Green Party, found similar words in a statement released on Saturday: “The end of the house arrest for Burmese opposition leader and Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi is a positive sign. But now it must be ensured that she can engage in political activity, and that she can move and speak freely. Furthermore, the military regime should release all political prisoners”, demanded Van der Bellen.

Aung San Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy (NLD) was not allowed to run in the elections orchestrated by the junta and is regarded as officially dissolved. According to the provisions of the election law no person with a previous criminal record may be a member of a political party, which means that the NLD would have had to exclude its own chairwoman, Aung San Suu Kyi, in order to obtain registration. Its non-registration automatically led to the party’s dissolution. But the Nobel laureate’s candidacy would have been impossible even without the dissolution of the party because according to the constitution no one may assume a mandate who is or was married to a foreigner. Aung San Suu Kyi’s husband, the British historian and Tibetologist Michael Aris, died in 1999.

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