A Call for Freedom in Burma after Activist for Democracy Released from Prison
Professor Joseph Loconte urges UN Secretary-General to push for peace
NEW YORK, November 22, 2010—Joseph Loconte, Assistant Professor of History, published “Let’s Not Miss this Mandela Moment” last week in The Australian, one of Australia’s largest daily newspapers. Loconte co-authored the article with Benedict Rogers, a human rights activist based in London.
Earlier this month, Aung San Suu Kyi, a Nobel laureate and leader of Burma’s banned National League for Democracy, was released from house arrest. Since 1990, she has spent over 15 years under arrest. Loconte and Rogers equate this momentous scene with Nelson Mandela’s release from prison—with one key difference.
Whereas Mandela was released amidst the crumbling regime of apartheid, Suu Kyu was released “not as a step towards political liberalism, but as a ploy to get the international community off [Burma’s] back.”
Burma’s ethnic population continues to suffer massive human rights violations under Than Shwe’s dictatorial regime. Loconte and Rogers urge UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to lead the international community by increasing pressure on Shwe to end the ethnic conflict and destruction.
“The time for timidity has passed. Ban should dispatch his chief of staff to the region immediately and begin the process of challenging the regime to enter into dialogue. At the same time, the UN should establish a commission of inquiry to investigate crimes against humanity. Suu Kyi’s release could provide an opportunity for real change in Burma, but only if the international community, led by Ban, finally takes the action required.”
The full article may be found at The Australian.
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