News / Asia

UN Chief Calls for Burma to Free Political Prisoners

The head of the United Nations has again pressed Burma's military government to release political prisoners to ensure credibility for its elections next month. Ban Ki-moon says the elections are a test for Burma in its progress toward democracy.

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon says that Burma's November 7 elections need to be transparent and credible.

Mr. Ban spoke to journalists in Bangkok at the start of a four country Asia visit.

"I only hope – sincerely hope that this election will be [an] inclusive and transparent and credible one – that is the expectation of the international community," Mr. Ban said. "The more they signal through concrete actions that this is a departure from business as usual, or status quo, toward more openness, [is] better for the credibility of their country in democratization."

Mr. Ban says how much the new parliament includes different segments of society will signal the success of the election in Burma, also known as Myanmar.

"It will be even more important after the election how inclusive a government they will form as a result of the election reflecting the wishes and will of the people." He added. "That will be a test of the Myanmar government, how they will be able to meet this expectation of the international community."

The secretary-general appealed to Burma's government to release all political prisoners.

"It is not too late, even now, that by releasing the political detainees, they [Burma's leaders] can make this election more inclusive and participatory," Mr. Ban said.

Opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi is under house arrest and cannot vote in the polls. Her National League for Democracy party was ordered disbanded after it refused to expel her and other members in prison.

The NLD won the last election, 20 years ago, but the military never allowed the party to take office. Instead, most of its leaders were jailed.

Rights activists say Burma still holds more than 2,000 political prisoners.

Many human-rights groups, Burmese exiles and several governments call the elections a sham. The military is guaranteed a quarter of the seats in parliament, and election laws restrict campaigning by opposition candidates.

Mr. Ban is headed to Cambodia. He then goes to Vietnam for a summit meeting of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations. After that, he travels to China.

You May Like

US Imposes Sanctions on Alleged Honduran Drug Gang

Treasury department alleges Los Valles group is responsible for smuggling tens of thousands of kilograms of cocaine into US each month More

At 91, Marvel Creator Stan Lee Continues to Expand his Universe

Company's chief emeritus hopes to interest new generation of children in superheroes of all shapes and sizes by publishing content across multiple media platforms More

Photogallery New Drug Protects Against Virus in Ebola Family

Study by researchers at University of Texas Medical Branch, Tekmira Pharmaceuticals is first looking at drug's effectiveness after onset of symptoms More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
African Media Tries to Educate Public About Ebolai
X
George Putic
August 20, 2014 8:57 PM
While the Ebola epidemic continues to claim lives in West Africa, information technology specialists, together with radio and TV reporters, are battling misinformation and prejudice about the disease - using social media to educate the public about the deadly virus. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video African Media Tries to Educate Public About Ebola

While the Ebola epidemic continues to claim lives in West Africa, information technology specialists, together with radio and TV reporters, are battling misinformation and prejudice about the disease - using social media to educate the public about the deadly virus. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Ferguson Calls For Justice as Anger, Violence Grips Community

Violence, anger and frustration continue to grip the small St. Louis suburb of Ferguson, Missouri. Protests broke out after a white police officer fatally shot an unarmed black teenager on August 9. The case has sparked outrage around the nation and prompted the White House to send U.S. Attorney Eric Holder to the small community of just over 20,000 people. VOA’s Mary Alice Salinas has more from Ferguson.
Video

Video Beheading Of US Journalist Breeds Outrage

U.S. and British authorities have launched an investigation into an Islamic State video showing the beheading of kidnapped American journalist James Foley by a militant with a British accent. The extremist group, which posted the video on the Internet Tuesday, said the murder was revenge for U.S. airstrikes on militant positions in Iraq - and has threatened to execute another American journalist it is holding. Henry Ridgwell has more from London.
Video

Video Family Robots - The Next Big Thing?

Robots that can help us with daily chores like cooking and cleaning are a long way off, but automatons that serve as family companions may be much closer. Researchers in the United States, France, Japan and other countries are racing to build robots that can entertain and perform some simpler tasks for us. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video In Ukraine, Fear and Distrust Remain Where Fighting has Stopped

As the Ukrainian military reclaims control of eastern cities from pro-Russian separatists, residents are getting a chance to rebuild their lives. VOA's Gabe Joselow reports from the town of Kramatorsk in Donetsk province, where a sense of fear is still in the air, and distrust of the government in Kyiv still runs deep.
Video

Video Five Patients Given Experimental Ebola Drug Said to Be Improving

The World Health Organization has approved the use of experimental treatments for Ebola patients in West Africa. The Ebola outbreak there is unprecedented, the disease deadly. The number of people who have died from Ebola has surpassed 1,200. VOA's Carol Pearson reports on the ethical considerations of allowing experimental drugs to be used.
Video

Video China Targets Overseas Assets of Corrupt Officials

As China presses forward with its anti-graft effort, authorities are targeting corrupt officials who have sent family members and assets overseas. The efforts have stirred up a debate at home on exactly how many officials take that route and how likely it is they will be caught. Rebecca Valli has this report.
Video

Video Leading The Fight Against Islamic State, Kurds Question Iraqi Future

Western countries including the United States have begun arming the Kurdish Peshmerga forces in northern Iraq to aid their battle against extremist Sunni militants from the Islamic State. But there are concerns that a heavily-armed Kurdistan Regional Government, or KRG, might seek to declare independence and cause the break-up of the Iraqi state. As Henry Ridgwell reports from London, the KRG says it will only seek greater autonomy from Baghdad.
Video

Video In Rural Kenya, Pressure Builds Against Female Circumcision

In some Kenyan communities, female genital mutilation remains a rite of passage. But activists are pushing back, with education for girls and with threats of punishment those who perform the circumcision. Mohammed Yusuf looks at the practice in the rural eastern community of Tharaka-Nithi.

AppleAndroid