By Adam Kornhauser
Testimony: Piercing Burma’s Veil of Secrecy: The Truth Behind the Sham Election and the Difficult Road Ahead
On June 22, Aung San Suu Kyi, Nobel Prize winner in 1991 “for her non-violent struggle for democracy and human rights” in Burma, testified before the House Subcommittee on Asia and the Pacific. Her testimony was delivered via video message (below); an empty chair was reserved in her honor at the hearing room.
Suu Kyi urged the United States to “do whatever you can to ensure that the requests and demands of the United Nations Human Rights Council Resolution are met as broadly and sincerely and as quickly as possibly by the present government of Burma.” The UN resolution, passed in March of this year, covered issues Suu Kyi called “essential” including: the release of political prisoners, freedom of association and information, independence of the judiciary, right of the UN Special Rapporteur to visit Burma whenever deemed necessary, and the need for a politically inclusive process that will lead to national reconciliation.
During her testimony, Suu Kyi highlighted the importance of an independent judiciary and the release of political prisoners. She said without an independent judiciary there can be no rule of law, and with political prisoners there can be no democracy. Finally, Suu Kyi called for a UN Commission of Inquiry to determine what human rights violations have occurred and how to prevent them from continuing.
This post was written by Adam Kornhauser, Research Intern at the East-West Center.