The Hon. Alexander Downer, MP
The Hon. Alexander Downer, MP

Media Release

25 September 2007

Protests in Burma

The current large-scale protests in Burma are a clear call from the Burmese people for genuine democratic change and national reconciliation in that country. 

The Australian Government and the wider international community are following developments in Burma closely.  I urge the Burmese regime to exercise maximum restraint in relation to the protests and to respect the legitimate right of Burmese citizens to peaceful protest.

The Australian Government shares the conviction of the monks and other members of civil society in Burma that the regime must listen to calls for progress towards genuine democratic reform and national reconciliation as a matter of priority.   The continued detention of Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and over one thousand political prisoners is unacceptable.  I repeat calls for the Burmese regime to release Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and all other political prisoners immediately and unconditionally.

I pressed for political progress in Burma in my meeting with the Burmese Minister for Foreign Affairs, U Nyan Win, on 31 July 2007 in Manila.  I will continue to pursue the matter of Burma in my bilateral meetings in New York and Washington this week, and Australia will formally raise it in our upcoming address to the General Assembly.

It is essential that the Burmese regime starts to listen to international opinion – and the voice of the Burmese people. 

I also urge the Burmese regime to allow UNSG Special Envoy on Burma Professor Ibrahim Gambari to visit Burma at an early opportunity.

Media Inquiries: Mr Downer's office 02 6277 7500 - Departmental Media Liaison 02 6261 1555

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