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60 years of human rights, 18 years of incarceration

April 2, 2008

As the world celebrates 60years of Human Rights, the Burmese military junta can celebrate 18 years of incarceration for Aung San Suu Kyi.

This year, the world celebrates the 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. In theory, this document ensures indivisible human rights for every person in the world. Sadly, many governments still show blatant disregard for both the rights and lives of human beings, and in numerous countries all over the world, all sorts of abuse, violence and oppression are still just as common today as they were 60 years ago.

Brutal Burmese government

The military junta in Burma has a particularly ugly record when it comes to human rights violations. In September 2007, the world was shocked by the brutal crackdown on peaceful demonstrations in Burma. Hundreds of monks and other civilians were arrested, beaten or murdered by the military. According to Amnesty International, the Burmese government has still not accounted for those killed during the demonstrations, and the fate of the imprisoned demonstrators remains unknown.

The events which took place were so appalling, and so visible that the world had to react and speak out against the atrocities. However,violent oppression and imprisonment of political activists are nothing out of the ordinary in Burma. Amnesty International reports that 1,150 political prisoners held prior to the September 07 protests have still not been released. The best-known of all Burmese political prisoners, Nobel Peace Prize laureate Daw Aung San Suu Kyi has endured various forms of detention, house arrest and restrictions on her movement since 1989. After Aung San Suu Kyi’s party, National League for Democracy (NLD) won the 1990 parliamentary elections, the ruling junta has done everything in their power to prevent her from becoming the national leader of Myanmar.

Demand freedom for Aung San Suu Kyi

Aung San Suu Kyi has become a powerful symbol for the Burmese people’s struggle for freedom and democracy. There can be no real process towards democracy, no legitimate Burmese constitution and thus no legitimate government without the participation of NLD and Aung San Suu Kyi and NLD. In Burma, any real political dialog has been impossible for the last 20 years. As hundreds of the most prominent opposition politicians and political, religious and social activists are either imprisoned or in exile, the military government has no legitimate partner for negotiations. Therefore, it is a sad fact that here can be no freedom for the Burmese people without freedom for Aung San Suu Kyi and the more than 1000 political prisoners in Burma. Support the Burmese people and call for the immediate and unconditional release of all political prisoners in Burma here!

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