Rights group urges arms embargo against Myanmar


New Delhi : Reacting to the sentencing of Nobel laureate and opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi to imprisonment over an uninvited intrusion by an American tourist three months ago, a rights group Tuesday renewed its campaign for an arms embargo against the “dictatorship in Burma”.

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“The dictatorship is determined to silence all pro-democracy voices in the country in the run up to rigged elections next year,” the London-based Burma Campaign said.

“Aung San Suu Kyi’s trial has provoked a global outcry. World leaders, including Prime Minster Gordon Brown, (US) President Barack Obama and the UN secretary general have all condemned the actions of the Burmese regime.

“Now we need to turn those words into real pressure. We are calling for a global arms embargo against Burma.”

The rights group said that Myanmar, earlier known as Burma, is “ruled by one of the most brutal dictatorships”, and spends around 40 percent of its budget on the military.

“Burma has no external enemies, its military is used solely for internal repression, to keep the military in power,” the rights group said.

“A global arms embargo will stop the dictatorship having access to new weapons and new weapons technology that would result in increased human rights abuses in Burma. It will also be a major psychological blow to the dictatorship.”

While Myanmar has started making its own weapons, ammunition and explosives on a small scale, China and Russia remain its biggest suppliers of modern weapons.

“If an arms embargo had been introduced in 1962 when the first dictator took over Burma, the military capacity of the dictatorship today would be greatly reduced,” Burma Campaign said.

After a trial that started in May, a Myanmar court Tuesday sentenced Suu Kyi, 64, to three years in prison and hard labour for breaking the terms of her detention after American John William Yettaw entered the compound of her villa uninvited.

However, the sentence was commuted to 18 months under house detention.