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UN rights official seeks Suu Kyi's release

May 22, 2007 10:21 IST

A top United Nations human rights official has asked Myanmar to unconditionally release Nobel laureate and democracy advocate Daw San Suu Kyi and other political prisoners.

The statement by High Commissioner of Human Rights Louise Arbour comes ahead of May 27 when Suu Kyi's current period of detention ends.

"The release of Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and other political prisoners would demonstrate willingness to abide by universally accepted human rights standards," she said in a statement released in Geneva.

"It would also, I believe, facilitate national dialogue and free the government and the people to focus on the need to unite the country and to allow the emergence of democratic structures to decide on the way forward."

Suu Kyi, the general-secretary of the National League for Democracy, has been held for 11 years without charge or trial since her party and its allies won the 1990 election with over 80 percent of the parliamentary seats. She has been under house arrest for four years, and has spent 11 of the past 17 years in detention.

Suu Kyi is one of over 1,000 known political prisoners held in prisons and labour camps across Myanmar.

The High Commissioner also offered her office's support for the government of Myanmar "in any efforts towards democratisation by addressing the complex human rights crisis faced by the country, including the situation of political prisoners."

Earlier this month, over one dozen UN human rights experts joined their voices to urge Myanmar's authorities to free Suu Kyi and all other political prisoners.

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