I don’t think anyone can disagree with promoting human rights in Myanmar by demanding the release of Aung San Suu Kyi:
President Barack Obama on Sunday told Myanmar’s junta to free pro-democracy leader during an unusual face-to-face interaction with a top leader of the ruling military.
Obama delivered the strong message during his summit with leaders of 10 Southeast Asian nations, which included Myanmar Prime Minister Gen. Thein Sein.
White House press secretary Robert Gibbs told reporters that Obama called on Myanmar to free his fellow Nobel Peace laureate Suu Kyi and other , and end oppression of minorities.
“Obama brought that up directly with that government,” Gibbs said, indicating that the president addressed.
For decades, Western governments have avoided direct contacts with leaders of Myanmar because of the regime’s poor human rights record and suppression of democracy.
A joint statement issued after the summit — the first ever between a U.S. president and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations — devoted a paragraph on Myanmar, a major irritant in relations between the two sides.
But the statement did not call for the release of political prisoners, including Suu Kyi, who has spent 14 of the last 20 years under detention by the military regime. It only urged Myanmar to ensure that the elections it intends to hold in 2010 are “conducted in a free, fair, inclusive and transparent manner.” [Associated Press]
However, this is an easy play advocating for Suu Kyi, what I am wondering is when the President is going to take on the harder play and promote the human rights of a people far more suppressed by their government than the people of Burma, the North Koreans? Also it is a pipe dream if anyone thinks that Suu Kyi is going to be allowed to participate in the 2010 election. She was recently sentenced to a longer house arrest jail term by the junta because of the American that swam to her home that Senator Jim Webb had to fly to Burma to get released.
My Burmese friend was telling me that many people in Burma believe that the American John Yettaw was either manipulated or intentionally working for the regime to swim to Suu Kyi’s home in order to the regime a pretext to sentence her to a longer jail term so she would miss next year’s election.
By the way I found this passage in the article interesting:
Before the summit, the 11 leaders gathered for a photo shoot for a few minutes, but Obama and Thein Sein stayed far from each other and made no contact of any sort.
The President doesn’t want to be seen hanging out with Thein Sein, but is willing to be seen hanging out with another thug Hugo Chavez?