Burmese pro-democracy leader, Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, celebrates her 65th birthday tomorrow, 19 June. As she continues to be under house arrest imposed by the military regime, she pleads once again for the world to “please use your liberty to promote ours.”
You can leave a message for her on the British Foreign Office’s Facebook page on Burma. They will deliver the messages to The Lady, as Daw Suu Kyi is affectionately known by her supporters.
The following excerpts are from The Independent.
By Andrew Buncombe, Asia Correspondent
As Aung San Suu Kyi prepares to celebrate her 65th birthday tomorrow, confined in the house in which she has spent most of the past two decades, a confidante of the Burmese opposition leader has made a simple but passionate appeal to those in the West to use their freedom to help his country achieve the same.
[Picture left: Aung San Suu Kyi’s lakeside house in Rangoon where a fence was erected last year.]
In a hand-written letter smuggled out of Burma and passed to The Independent, U Win Tin writes: “I want to repeat and echo her own words – ‘please use your liberty to promote ours’. I want to add more to it. Please bring more and more liberty to us, to our country, Burma. We are starving for it and we are waiting for someone or some institutions or some countries to bring it to us.”
The plea from Ms Suu Kyi’s friend and senior political ally, who himself spent almost 20 years in solitary confinement, comes at a desperately difficult time for the opponents of Burma’s military junta.
The rest of the article can be read here: The Independent.
Message by British Foreign Minister, Jeremy Browne, to mark Aung San Suu Kyi’s 65th birthday:
“We do not believe that the elections that are anticipated in the next few months will be free and fair. How can they possibly be free and fair at a time when people who hold a range of political views and opinions are being suppressed or in some cases imprisoned for holding those views… Burma can and should be part of an international community. Southeast Asia has as a region of the world a real opportunity to become more successful and more prosperous. But Burma cannot and will not be sharing in that prosperity and success for so long as it is in breach of international law as it so clearly is at the moment and does not respect the human rights and the freedom of its own people.”
The following is the message from the United Kingdom’s Foreign Office:
UK CALLS FOR RELEASE OF AUNG SAN SUU KYI ON THE EVE OF HER 65TH BIRTHDAY
UK Foreign Office ministers today called for the immediate and unconditional release of pro democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi on the eve of her 65th birthday tomorrow.
Aung Sun Suu Kyi has spent 14 of the last 20 years under house arrest in Burma for advocating democracy and respect for human rights in her country.
This week, the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention pronounced her detention as an unequivocal breach of international human rights law.
Responding to the view of UN experts, the Foreign Secretary, William Hague said:
“Aung San Suu Kyi is 65 this Saturday, having spent 14 of the last 20 years under house arrest. Her continued detention, and that of more than 2,100 other political prisoners in Burma, contravenes international human rights law and casts a long shadow over planned elections in the country. I urge the military regime to release all political prisoners immediately and unconditionally, and respect the human rights of Burma’s people.”
Minister for South East Asia Jeremy Browne made the following statement:
“Aung San Suu Kyi has made clear her commitment to working with all parties to achieve national reconciliation. It is high time the regime released her and accepted her offer of dialogue.
“In highlighting the plight of Aung San Suu Kyi, we should remember that she is just one of more than 2,100 political prisoners currently detained by the military authorities. Many are imprisoned far from the support of their families, in harsh conditions, for sentences of 65 years or longer.
“This is more than a human tragedy – it is a tragic waste of talent, vision and leadership for a country that desperately needs all three.
“The people of Burma have suffered enough. A genuine transition to civilian and accountable government is long overdue. I am committed to making sure the UK plays a part in helping them achieve this.”
Minister Jeremy Browne also recorded a video message, which can be viewed on the UK’s Foreign Office (FCO) website: www.fco.gov.uk
The FCO is also inviting people to post birthday messages for Aung San Suu Kyi on its Facebook wall:www.facebook.com/fcoburma. Our Embassy in Rangoon will present a collection of the messages to Aung San Suu Kyi’s representatives.
Messages already on the FCO’s Facebook wall include one from former political prisoner U Win Tin, who describes the ongoing struggle of pro-democracy campaigners in Burma. As a senior member of Aung San Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy, the 81-year-old spent 19 years in prison on charges that included disseminating anti-government propaganda.