888 888 signatures for Burma
24 May 2009 is the legal date that Burma’s democracy leader, Aung San Suu Kyi should be released from house arrest. Before that date, the Burma Campaign UK aims to collect 888 888 signatures calling on the UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon to make it his personal priority to secure the release of all political prisoners in Burma.
There are over 2,100 political prisoners in Burma. They have been imprisoned just for peacefully calling for democracy and freedom. According to the Burma Campaign UK, once in prison, they face horrific torture, including electric shocks, rape and severe beatings. The UN Security Council has called for political prisoners to be released but, to no avail. More must be done for these prisoners, and according to the Burma Campaign UK, UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon must make it his personal priority to secure the release of all political prisoners in Burma.
The most famous of Burma’s political prisoners is not kept in a prison, but under house arrest. Aung San Suu Kyi, whose National League for Democracy (NLD) won the 1990 general election, has been detained in her home without trial for close to thirteen years. The house arrest order is renewed annually, and is due to expire on 24 May. Before that date, the Burma Campaign UK hopes to collect 888 888 signatures demanding the immediate and unconditional release of all Burmese political prisoners, including Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, Khun Tun Oo and Min Ko Naing.
Far from being a random number, 888 888 signatures symbolize August 8, 1988, the day University students in Rangoon started Burma’s largest democracy uprising. The 8888 uprising, named after the date it all began, ended abruptly when he military regime responded to the demonstrations with brutal force, killing thousands of civilians. More than 20 years later, 8.8.88 is still a potent symbol in Burma, as a reminder of both the brutality and cruelty of the junta, and the courage and determination of the democracy activists rising up against the regime.
Stand up for the brave Burmese democracy activists and urge UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon to do the same. Do not forget Burma!