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U.S. Department of State
96/09/27 Statement: Burma: SLORC Obstructs NLD Party Congress
Office of the Spokesman

Press Statement by Glyn Davies/Acting Spokesman
September 27, 1996

          Burma:  SLORC Obstructs NLD Party Congress

The United States deplores the actions taken by the State Law and Order Restoration Council (SLORC) in Burma to prevent the National League for Democracy (NLD) from holding its All Burma Party Congress.  The SLORC reportedly has arrested at least 33 NLD party members and activists who had planned to attend the congress, including 16 elected Members of Parliament.  Police erected barricades and blocked public access to University Avenue, the street in front of the residence of party general secretary Aung San Suu Kyi, where the congress was to be held September 27-29.

These measures are designed to disrupt the party congress, a legitimate meeting of a legally registered party in Burma.  These arrests and other forms of intimidation by the military regime are geared to prevent Aung San Suu Kyi and her supporters from exercising their basic political rights, including freedom of speech and peaceful assembly.  The SLORC continues to engage in widespread violations of the human rights of the Burmese people.  

We call on the SLORC to immediately and unconditionally release all of the NLD members and activists, who have been detained for exercising their legitimate political rights.  In addition to the arrests made this weekend, the SLORC has arrested and continues to detain more than 60 NLD activists since May.  We also urge the SLORC to enter into a genuine dialogue about the political future of the country with Aung San Suu Kyi and leaders of the ethnic minorities.  This is essential to political reconciliation in Burma.
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