Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today urged Myanmar’s authorities to step up their efforts towards democratization and the full respect of human rights, noting that the international community’s patience with the troubled South-East Asian nation is wearing thin.
Speaking to reporters in Bangkok, Mr. Ban seized the occasion of Human Rights Day to urge Myanmar’s authorities once more to fully respect the principles of the UN Charter by engaging with the international community, democratizing and promoting human rights.
Calling the appointment of a liaison minister who is in contact with Aung San Suu Kyi “a good beginning,” he called for further efforts so that the detained pro-democracy leader and Nobel laureate can engage in an in-depth dialogue with the country’s senior leadership.
“I know that the international community is very impatient, and our patience is running out,” he stated, stressing once again that a return to the status quo prior to the Government’s crackdown on peaceful protesters in August and September is “not acceptable and politically unsustainable.”
The people of Myanmar have suffered from isolation for a very long time, the Secretary-General stated, adding that it is high time for them to enjoy genuine democracy and freedom. “This is what the international community expects.”
Mr. Ban pledged to continue his good offices role through his Special Adviser Ibrahim Gambari, who is scheduled to return to Myanmar at the end of this year or early next year. He also highlighted the special role and responsibility of the Association of Southeast Asian Nation (ASEAN) in further promoting democracy in Myanmar.
The situation in Myanmar and the work of ASEAN were among the issues discussed by Mr. Ban and Thai Prime Minister Surayudh Chulanont earlier today in Bangkok, the first stop on the Secretary-General’s current three-nation trip, which will also take him to the UN Climate Change Conference in Bali, Indonesia, as well as Timor-Leste. The leaders also discussed climate change, UN reform and global public health, according to a spokesperson for Mr. Ban.
The Secretary-General also addressed the UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP), and visited, with his wife, the Royal Chitralada projects, a bio-fuel initiative which he described as one of the many examples of the King of Thailand’s commitment and dedication to human development and the environment.
The Secretary-General and Mrs. Ban also had an audience with the King and Queen of Thailand in the evening. They are scheduled to arrive in Bali tomorrow.