SUBMITTED TO THE
WORKING GROUP ON DETENTION
COMMISSION ON HUMAN RIGHTS
INTERNATIONAL EDUCATIONAL DEVELOPMENT, INC.
DR. MYO THANT
MR. U SEIN WIN
ON BEHALF OF
MRS. AUNG SAN SUU KYI
10 DECEMBER 1991
SUMMARY OF CASE
This is an action brought to the United Nations Commission on Human Rights Working Group on Detention on behalf of Mrs. Aung San Suu Kyi against Myanmar (Burma). Petitioners claim that Mrs. Aung San Suu Kyi, a prominent political leader and member of the National League for Democracy, has been illegally detained since July 21, 1989.
The Petitioners are International Educational Development, Inc., a non-governmental organization on the Roster (Secretary- General's List), Dr. Myo Thant and Mr. U Sein Win on behalf of Mrs. Aung San Suu Kyi.
Petitioners allege that Mrs. Aung San Suu Kyi is currently not able to communicate directly to the Working Group due to the nature of her detention, but is presumed to consent to this petition. Dr. Myo Thant and Mr. U Sein Win are both cousins of Mrs. Aung San Suu Kyi and both consent for her. They inform the Working Group that other relatives of Mrs. Aung San Suu Kyi have grave concerns about retaliation should their participation here become known so they are unable to join at this time.
Myanmar (Burma) is a member of the United Nations and is subject to the jurisdiction of the United Nations Commission on Human Rights and its Working Group on Detention. Myanmar must uphold the rights set out in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and all other laws that are customary international law norms.
PETITIONERS MEET RATIONAE MATERIAE
Petitioners are aware that the Working Group has not yet published criteria for admissibility of petitions. Nonetheless, Petitioners assert that this case is admissible regardless of what criteria the Working Group subsequently establishes.
A. Mrs. Aung San Suu Kyi Held on Impermissible Grounds
Activities protected by international human rights law cannot become legal grounds for detention. Petitioners allege that Mrs. Aung San Suu Kyi is currently detained without trial for acts constituting the exercise of freedom of opinion and expression, peaceful assembly and participation in government as set out in Articles 19, 20 and 21 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
Mrs. Aung San Suu Kyi was arrested July 21, 1989 in Yangon (Rangoon) and since that time has been under heavily guarded house arrest. She has not been brought to trial. At the time of the arrest, the government spokesperson Mr. U Kyaw Sann indicated the arrest would be for up to one year. The government indicated that Mrs. Aung San Suu Kyi was arrested for creating dissention in the military and fomenting hatred of the military among the population. According to Mr. U Kyaw Sann and reported widely in the press, Mrs. Aung San Suu Kyi had "accused the military of being fascist with the intention of making people hate the military." Petitioners allege Mrs. Aung San Suu Kyi has not been able to defend against any charges in a court of law.
B. Mrs. Aung San Suu Kyi Subjected to Extreme Violations of Due Process.
Petitioners allege that Mrs. Aung San Suu Kyi has been subjected to extreme violations of due process. Petitioners concede that were minor violations of due process subject to action by the Working Group, the Working Group would have hundreds of thousands of cases brought to it. Were that the case, the Working Group would be unable to adequately address any instances of illegal detention. However, at some point, violations of due process must be admissible or there would be no meaning in establishing a Working Group. Petitioners do not presume to dictate at what point due process violation are sufficiently grave to warrant action by the Working Group. However, Petitioners assert that Mrs. Aung San Suu Kyi has clearly been subjected to the most serious of violations of due process, and therefore is appropriately before the Working Group.
Petitioners allege that Mrs. Aung San Suu Kyi has been subjected to extreme violations of Articles 6 (recognition as a person before the law), Article 8 (effective remedy), Article 9 (arbitrary arrest and detention), Article 10 (fair hearing), Article 11 (presumption of innocence and freedom from ex post facto laws) of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
Petitioners allege that Mrs. Aung San Suu Kyi has had no access at all to any of the facilities due detainees, such as but not limited to: knowledge of the charges, right to counsel, right to judicial review of arrest and detention, right to the presumption of innocence, right to adequate time and facility for defense, right to fair trial before an independent and impartial tribunal, right to speedy trial, and right to examination of witness.
C. Mrs. Aung San Suu Kyi Subjected to Extreme Conditions of Detention.
Mrs. Aung San Suu Kyi is subjected to violations of Article 5 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights because she is being held incommunicado and has been for all but the initial several months of her detention. Other violations of Article 5 are presumed to have been violated, but cannot be verified at this time. Petitioners allege that this long period of incommunicado detention should by itself be admissible to the Working Group.
At the present time, international monitors have not been able to visit with her, nor has anyone identified as her counsel or any other person[s] who might communicate with relatives, her political allies, the press or the United Nations. Rumors of her illness or other life-threatening conditions have been rampant in recent weeks, but there has been no way to ascertain the truth regarding her physical or mental condition.
MYANMAR HAS NO DEFENSE
Myanmar may not use domestic detention law that violates international human rights protections to defend against this action for illegal detention. Petitioners contend that Myanmar has no grounds to detain Mrs. Aung San Suu Kyi without trial.
ACTION OF WORKING GROUP
1. Petitioners respectfully urge the Working Group to find that Mrs. Aung San Suu Kyi has been subjected to an illegal detention.
2. Petitioners urge the Working Group to ask the government of Myanmar (Burma) to release Mrs. Aung San Suu Kyi immediately.
3. Petitioners also urge the Working Group to request that the government of Myanmar (Burma) allow verification by the United Nations (the Rapporteur appointed by the Commission on Human Rights, the Secretary-General, the Working Group or any other appropriate person or body) of Mrs. Aung San Suu Kyi's state of health and general condition.
4. Petitioners also urge the Working Group to request that all persons held by Myanmar in detention for political reasons also be released immediately from detention.
Petitioners will be pleased to supply the Working Group with any additional information or legal analysis requested by the Working Group.
Karen Parker, Esq.
United Nations representative, IED
Attorney for Petitioners