A coalition of campaigners and activists in the UK is to stage a demonstration as part of a global protest on 24 October, signalling a total of 13 years that Aung San Suu Kyi, 62, has been detained by Burma’s brutal military regime. The protest will take place in front of the Chinese Embassy in London, UK
The day coincides with the Seventh Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) in China, which will be attended by leaders of Asian and European countries.
The campaign will call on the leaders of ASEM to team up and back UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon in securing the release of all political prisoners when he visits Burma in December.
A giant key with the names and pictures of Burma’s 2,120 political prisoners on it will be handed in to the Chinese Embassy by 13 people wearing Aung San Suu Kyi face masks. It symbolises ‘the key to freedom’ that world leaders hold should they work together to pressure the regime.
Mark Farmaner, Director of Burma Campaign UK, said: “We have never had European and Asian government joining forces to directly pressure the regime to release prisoners. For too long the UN has fallen for the lies of the regime. Thirty-seven visits by UN envoys have secured not a single reform. It is time the UN set timelines and benchmarks for change. The release of political prisoners should be the minimum benchmark for progress that Ban Ki-moon aims for in December.”
The number of political prisoners in Burma has increased over the past year amid calls for their immediate release from the United Nations Security Council. No one can be held for more than five years without being put on trial according to Burmese laws, lawyers representing Aung San Suu Kyi’s family said.
Recently, sources said that pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi made an appeal to Burma’s ruling junta against her detention, which was extended one year in May this year. Her detention, which is renewed periodically, has been criticised of being ‘illegal’ under international law by the UN.
Burma’s ruthless military regime will have detained the Nobel Peace laureate Aung San Suu Kyi in her home for 13 of the last 18 years on Friday, 24 October with her latest house arrest in 2003.
Van Biak Thang
17 October, 2008