World

Myanmar extends democracy leader Suu Kyi's detention

Myanmar extended the house arrest of Nobel Peace laureate Aung San Suu Kyi on Friday for another year, according to government officials.

Myanmar extended the house arrest ofNobel Peace laureate and democracy advocateAung San Suu Kyi on Fridayfor another year, according to governmentofficials.

Suu Kyi, who has been confined by the country's ruling junta for 11 of the last 17 years, was to complete her latest detention term Sunday.

Suu Kyi's National League for Democracy party won a general election in 1990, but the military junta, which seized power in 1988, ignored the result and instead persecuted members of the pro-democracy movement.

The Oxford-educated Suu Kyi has been held since May 2003, when her motorcade was attacked by a mob linked to the junta during a political tour in Myanmar, formerly known as Burma.

UN High Commissioner Louise Arbour, a Canadian, called for the unconditional release of Suu Kyi and more than 1,000 other political prisoners it holds in prisons and labour camps throughout the country.

Suu Kyi's release "would demonstrate a willingness to abide by universally accepted human rights standards," she said.

"It would also, I believe, facilitate national dialogue, and free the government and the people to focus on the need to unite the country and to allow the emergence of democratic structures to decide on the way forward."

Canada, the United States, the European Union and many other countries, including Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, and Japan have also urged Myanmar to free Suu Kyi.

UN agencies have accused Myanmar, one of the world's most isolated countries, of practising torture and forced labour, and using itsmilitary to target Karen ethnic minority in the country's eastern regions.

About 140,000 Karenlive in refugee camps in Thailand. The influx began afterthe juntaattacked a separatist group, the Karen National Union, in 1995, and continued a systematic campaign of persecution against Karencivilians thatincluded torture, burning of villages and forced relocation.

With files from the Associated Press

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