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Resounding International Support for Daw Aung San Suu Kyi on her 65th Birthday

By Burma Partnership  •  June 21, 2010

Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, the world’s only detained Nobel Peace Laureate, spent her 65th birthday under house arrest in her Rangoon home on Saturday 19 June. Governments, Burmese communities, solidarity groups and individuals around the world held events to commemorate Daw Suu’s birthday, calling for her immediate release.

On 16 June, Freedom Now released a judgement by the United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention unequivocally declaring that Daw Aung San Suu Kyi’s ongoing detention of is illegal and in violation of international law. United Nations Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Myanmar, Tomás Ojea Quintana, supported the working group call, demanding the release of all political prisoners “in order to create the conditions for an inclusive election process and to demonstrate that it intends to take a more serious and sincere approach to its international obligations to uphold human rights.”

US President Barack Obama and UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon both appealed for the release of Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and all political prisoners so that they may participate in national reconciliation, a necessary step for truly democratic progress. US Senators, Indian, Australian and EU parliamentarians called for Daw Suu’s release, while 90 British MPs signed a motion calling on the British government to support a UN led effort to secure dialogue in Burma. Meanwhile, UK Prime Minister David Cameron promised that the British government would do all it could to bring full human rights and true democracy to Burma.

Protests, concerts, prayers, cultural performances and other events were held in more than 20 countries around the world, including Bangladesh, India, Japan, the Philippines, Hong Kong, Singapore, Taiwan, Australia, the Czech Republic, Italy, Spain, Ireland, Canada and the United States.

In Bangkok, the Ten Alliances of Burma’s movement for democracy and ethnic rights also marked the occasion of Daw Suu’s birthday with a closing ceremony for the “People’s Elections.” Launched on a Global Day of Action on 27 May, activists from over 35 countries around the world have signed nearly 40,000 postcard ballots voting for real elections in Burma rather than the military’s selection currently underway. The postcards will be sent to national governments calling on them to denounce the junta’s elections and refuse to recognize the results unless the regime changes course.

The international community has spoken. Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and all of Burma’s 2,100 political prisoners must be released for this year’s elections to be inclusively democratic. It is now time for governments to follow their words with actions, pressuring the military regime to take the necessary steps towards genuinely inclusive and democratic elections in Burma.

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