Aung San Suu Kyi: Reforms not irreversible


PATHEIN, MYANMAR - FEBRUARY 7: Burmese monks hold the NLD party flag as they listen to Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi speak during her Delta region campaign trip on February 7, 2012 in Pathein, Myanmar. Aung San Suu Kyi is beginning her election campaign as an official candidate ahead of the April 1 by-elections. This was the first time in twenty years that Suu Kyi has visited the Delta region. (Photo by Paula Bronstein/Getty Images)


Paula Bronstein

Burma’s opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi expressed cautious optimism about the reforms implemented by the military-backed government, saying it was too early to call them irreversible, according to Reuters.

The Nobel Peace Prize laureate, who will be participating in the April by-elections, said, “Ultimate power still rests with the army so until we have the army solidly behind the process of democratization we cannot say that we have got to a point where there will be no danger of a U-turn. Many people are beginning to say that the democratization process here is irreversible. It's not so.”

Aung San Suu Kyi’s skepticism is well-founded as her party, the National League for Democracy, won by a landslide in 1990, but Burma’s military junta ignored the results and prolonged Suu Kyi’s house arrest for 22 years.

More on GlobalPost: Burma economy: Chasing riches? Mind the Karen guerrillas

UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights in Burma Tomas Ojea Quintana warned on Feb. 16 that reforms in Burma were not yet set in stone, according to Radio Australia. On his fifth mission to Burma, also known as Myanmar, Ojea Quintana held talks with government ministers, members of parliament, the attorney-general and Burma’s Supreme Court’s Chief Justice, as well as the Union Election Commission.

Speaking of media reforms in the country, Shawn W. Crispin, the Southeast Asia representative of Committee to Protect Journalist said on Tuesday, “Things are moving in the right direction.” However, he added, “The reforms we've seen are just scratching the surface. By any objective measure, Burma's media is still among the most repressed in the world,” according to the Associated Press.

David Mathieson from Human Rights Watch, who visited Burma recently, said on Feb. 23 that the country’s military remained a wild card. “No one knows what's happening within the military. The only thing we can discern is that they are as abusive as ever,” he said, according to the AP.

More on GlobalPost: Top India CEO warns of slowdown