Let’s set the record straight: the news media got this one dead wrong. Aung San Suu Kyi’s own words contradict what is being reported. Here is a transcript of Aung San Suu Kyi’s comments at today’s video broadcast at the George W. Bush Institute, with grateful thanks to our friends at US Campaign for Burma:
“I just heard from a news podcast this morning that Senator McCain is thinking of the suspension of sanctions, rather than the lifting of sanctions, this is a possible first step. I think that something similar to what has been done by the EU, that is to suspend sanctions but not lift all together. That is a way of sending a strong message that we will try to help the process of democratization, but if this is not maintained then we will have to think of other ways of making sure that the aspirations of the people of Burma for democracy is respected. I am not against suspension of sanctions as long as the people of the United States think that it is the right thing to do at the moment. I do advocate caution though, I sometimes feel that people are too optimistic about the scene in Burma. You have to remember that the democratization process in Burma is not irreversible. I have said openly that we can never look upon it as irreversible until such time that the military commits itself to democratization solidly and efficiently.” (emphasis added)
At United to End Genocide, we continue to receive frequent reports from our friends in the ethnic minority regions about continued violence by the Burmese military. Just last week, the United Nationalities Federal Council, an association of representatives from all the ethnic minority regions, put out a statement calling on the international community to maintain sanctions on Burma while this violence is ongoing. They said:
“It is necessary for the international community to oppose and pressure Bamah Tatmadaw [Burmese army] for its wrong actions. Accordingly, we would like to request the international community not to suspend or lift the remaining political, military, financial and economic sanctions but to wait and see, if the Bamah Tatmadaw does not stop its transgression and military offensives in Kachin State by June 10, 2012.”
Our actions in solidarity with the people of Burma will be heard and noticed. Please join our action to send messages to the U.S. government to keep the spotlight on the violence and human rights violations in Burma and to push for more progress toward peace.