Press Release
Conservatives


26th September 2006
Aung San Suu Kyi invited to Conservative Conference

The Conservative Party Human Rights Commission

Burma’s democracy leader, Nobel Laureate Aung San Suu Kyi, was invited to speak at next week’s Conservative Party Conference in Bournemouth, but remains ‘incommunicado’ under house arrest in Rangoon.

Speaking today on the 18th anniversary of the founding of Aung San Suu Kyi’s party, the National League for Democracy (NLD), the Chairman of the Conservative Party Human Rights Commission, Gary Streeter MP, called for the release of all political prisoners in Burma. The Shadow Foreign Secretary, William Hague, has written a letter of support to NLD, which will be delivered in Rangoon today.

Gary Streeter wrote to Aung San Suu Kyi and the Burmese Ambassador in London U Nay Win over two months ago, but has received no reply from either. (See Notes to Editors).

Aung San Suu Kyi has spent over 10 years in house arrest. In 1990, the NLD won over 80 per cent of the parliamentary seats in an election, but the military regime rejected the results and imprisoned many of the victors.

In his letter to the NLD, Shadow Foreign Secretary William Hague writes: “You and your members have shown extraordinary courage and commitment over the past 18 years, in the face of appallingly repressive treatment, to keep alive the vision of a democratic, peaceful Burma, in which the human rights of all the people of Burma are respected …. We will continue to urge the British government to be active in support of a better future for the people of Burma.”

The UN Security Council this month voted to put the issue of Burma on its formal agenda for the first time. Mr Hague said: “We believe it is urgent that Burma be bought to the agenda of the United Nations Security Council, and that a resolution must be passed requiring Burma’s junta to implement a plan for national reconciliation and restore democratically-elected government.”

Zoya Phan, a Karen activist from Burma, has been invited address the Conservative Party Conference during the foreign affairs session.


NOTES TO EDITORS:

In his letter to the Burmese Ambassador in London, Mr. Streeter asked him to ensure the invitation was delivered to Aung San Suu Kyi, and urged Burma’s ruling military regime “to release her from house arrest, unconditionally, and permit her the freedom to travel, within Burma and abroad. We hope that you will release her before October, and that you will guarantee her the freedom to accept our invitation, to travel, and to return to Burma safely and unconditionally.”

To Aung San Suu Kyi, Mr. Streeter wrote: “We are deeply concerned about the situation in your country …. If your circumstances remain unchanged and you are not released from house arrest this year, and are therefore unable to accept our invitation, we wish to extend to you an open invitation to come to our Conference in the future, when you are in a position to do so. You are an inspiration to us, as you are to people of many different political persuasions who share a common believe in human dignity and freedom. We want you to know that we stand with you in your struggle, that we will not abandon your cause, and that indeed your cause is our own too.”

The Conservative Party Human Rights Commission held a hearing on Burma in April this year – for details see www.conservativehumanrights.com

The Conservative Party Human Rights Commission will hold a fringe meeting at the Party Conference on “Freedom and Human Rights at the Heart of Foreign Policy – What Does It Mean?”, from 8am-9.30am on Wednesday, 4th October in the Blandford Suite, Highcliff Hotel, Bournemouth. Speakers include Craig Murray, the former British Ambassador to Uzbekistan; Kate Allen, Director of Amnesty International; and the former Prime Minister of Mongolia, Elbegdorj Tsakhia.