The EU and ASEAN should urge the immediate lifting of Aung San Suu Kyi's defacto house arrest, Human Rights Watch asked today as EU/ASEAN talks continue in Vientiane, Laos. The international human rights organisation also called on the Burmese government to publicly guarantee that the Nobel Peace Prize laureate and all other members of her party, the National League for Democracy, can openly engage in political activity with no restrictions on their freedom of association, speech, assembly or movement.

Welcoming the release on December 1 of six leading members of the National League for Democracy detained since late September, HRW added that Rangoon should also be encouraged to fully implement the recommendations made by the International Labor Organization (ILO) to end forced labor. On November 16, 2000 the ILO's Governing Body concluded that Burma was not taking adequate steps to abolish forced labor and urged member states and companies to "review their relations" with Rangoon.
Human Rights Watch said both the EU and ASEAN governments should use the summit meeting to urge Burma's full cooperation with the UN Secretary General's Special Envoy, Malaysian ambassador Ismail Razali. He went to Burma in October and plans another visit to Rangoon early next year.