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Christian advocacy charity urges Myanmar military government to respect the people after historic vote

by Aaron James

Polls have now closed in Myanmar's election, also known as Burma, with the democracy and human rights campaigner Aung San Suu Kyi and her National League for Democracy party the front-runners to take the biggest share of the vote.

However the military has banned Aung San Suu Kyi from being president, and will automatically retain 25% of the parliamentary seats by default after altering the country's constitution.

Myanmar became independent in 1948, before being overtaken in a coup d'etat in 1962. The military government officially dissolved in 2011, however many military officials remain in office.

Benedict Rogers, the East Asia Team Leader at Christian Solidarity Worldwide, told Premier: "She [Suu Kyi] has proven over the last 25 years her total dedication to the values of democracy, freedom and human rights at great personal sacrifice - she spent many years under house arrest separated from her family.

"She has over the years made a point of meeting with Christian and Muslim leaders, in fact she once told a Christian missionary that although she's a Buddhist herself she reads the Bible regularly and her favourite words in the Bible are from John's Gospel: 'You shall know the truth, and the truth shall set you free.'

"Recent legislation in parliament that was put forward that included proposals to restrict religious conversion and inter-religious marriage - she and her party opposed those laws.

"We hope that the poll will be as free and fair as possible and that the military will then respect the result and that the country can move forward into some kind of new political system that respects democracy, human rights and religious freedom."

Listen to Premier's Aaron James speaking to Benedict Rogers here:

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