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ASEAN soft on Burma in Aung San Suu Kyi trial

ASEAN soft on Burma in Aung San Suu Kyi trial article image

The Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) has been largely silent following Burma's move to try Nobel Peace Prize laureate and former  leader Aung San Suu Kyi for breach of her house arrest, when an American swam to her lakeside home earlier this month. The ruling junta will begin Suu Kyi's trial this week. Of the ten ASEAN member countries, only Indonesia, Singapore, Thailand and The Philippines have condemned the junta's actions, raising fears that the organisation's soft approach is not punishing Burma enough over human rights issues. "Since Burma was admitted 12 years ago, ASEAN has squandered any opportunity to speak more openly about Burma," said David Mathieson, spokesperson for Human Rights Watch. Added Burma analyst Aung Naing Oo: "Burma has been a thorn in ASEAN's side. They do want to do something, but quite obviously ASEAN has failed in many respects." China could use their influence over Burma on this issue, said Mathieson: "China has a lot of leverage over Burma, although they are not willing to use it overtly. Privately they will say to Burma, 'just resolve this and move on'."

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