The Burmese military junta in all probability will disregard international pressure and appeal and keep opposition leader Daw Aung San Suu Kyi under house arrest to avoid domestic confrontation. The junta considers her dangerous and a key rival.

On May 27, Daw Aung San Suu Kyi’s another one year term of house arrest comes up for review.  She will have spent approximately 11 years and 7 months under house arrest since she was first arrested on July 20, 1989.

The State Peace and Development Council (SPDC) continues to detain Daw Aung San Suu Kyi out of fear. Confined to her house in Rangoon , she has been barred from communicating with the outside world since her last arrest in May 2003.

People in Burma have had to bear with much more repressive measures since the country became a full member of ASEAN.

Aung San Suu Kyi under continues to be detained under Article 10 (b) of the 1975 State Protection Law, which grants the SPDC power to limit one person’s movement for up to one year without any judicial supervision. The SPDC has renewed Daw Suu’s term of house arrest several times.

On July 10, 1995, she was released from house arrest. Again on September 21, 2000, she and others were arrested when they tried to leave for Mandaly by train. But, on May 2, 2002, she was released from house arrest. However, on May 30, 2003, her convoy came under a murderous attack by mobs said to be backed by the junta. .Fortunately Daw Suu was saved, but the SPDC had tried to kill her. Daw Aung San Suu Kyi was arrested yet again.  On May 27, 2006, her house arrest term was extended for another year, ignoring a direct appeal from UN General Secretary Kofi Annan to Senior General Than Shwe, the junta supremo.

Fifty nine former heads of state, among them Presidents Jimmy Carter, George H. W Bush, and Bill Clinton have sent a letter to junta leader Than Shwe asking him “to release all political prisoners immediately and unconditionally, including Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and U Tin Oo”.

The UN general Assembly, the UN Secretary General, EU, some ASEAN countries’ former Prime Ministers and Presidents and quite a few countries have called for Daw Aung San Suu Kyi’s immediate release. For long ASEAN has been reluctant to interfere in a member country’s internal affairs. But, some ASEAN members---like Cambodia , Vietnam and Laos ---have adopted a friendlier posture and refused to engage in hurtful criticism of Burma .

On May 23, 2007, China said that Aung San Suu Kyi’s confinement is an internal matter of Burma . China provides weapons to Burma for use in dealing with domestic unrest, as well as gives diplomatic cover at the UN, in exchange for access to Burma ’s many natural resources.

“ Burma ’s generals have said, “Daw Aung San Suu Kyi’s detention only concerns us. Earlier, outsiders had called for Suu Kyi’s immediate release. This has not surprised us. This time also the same is being said. The detention of Daw Aung San Suu Kyi is an internal matter of Burma and it does not concern outsiders”, said a close aide of an army officer.                                   

The ruling SPDC detaining began NLD (National League for Democracy) members or Daw Aung San Suu Kyi’s supporters in an apparent crackdown ahead of a May 27 review of Daw Suu’s house arrest, which is expected to be extended further by the junta. Up to 60 activists have been arrested in the past week when they went to pagodas to pray for Daw Suu’s release and. 43 remains in custody.

The ruling generals are afraid of Daw Aung San Suu Kyi. If she is released, there will be serious confrontation between the junta and the public, which could lead to the present military government’s downfall. The generals believe that Daw Suu has organizational powers and surely the people of Burma will flock under Daw Suu’s leadership.

Burma’s generals therefore are likely to ignore international appeal and pressure and keep her under house arrest. If China , Burma ’s strong ally had played a positive role, Daw Aung San Suu Kyi could have been released.  

May 25, 2007.