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Words Must Be Turned Into Action For Aung San Suu Kyi

By Burma Campaign UK  •  June 19, 2010

Burma Campaign today warmly welcomed British Prime Minister David Cameron’s letter of support for Aung San Suu Kyi on her 65th birthday, and asked him to take the lead in supporting UN led efforts to secure negotiations between the dictatorship and Burma’s democracy movement.

“The letter from the Prime Minister demonstrates Britain’s continuing commitment to supporting the people of Burma in their struggle for human rights and democracy,” said Zoya Phan, International Coordinator at Burma Campaign UK.

Aung San Suu Kyi is spending her 65th birthday in detention today. She has spent almost 15 years in detention since 1989. The exact time she has spent in detention is 14 years and 238 days. The United Nations has repeatedly ruled that her detention breaks international law.

US President Barak Obama and UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon have also issued statements of support.

“We now need action as well as words,” said Zoya Phan. “It is time for the international community to unite around UN led dialogue to bring peace and democracy to Burma. Prime Minister David Cameron must pressure Ban Ki-moon to act.”

On Thursday 17th June The Elders, which includes former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan, called on the international community to support a UN led dialogue initiative for national reconciliation in Burma.

The UN has been mandated to work for such dialogue by the UN General Assembly, and it is supported by the UN Security Council, UN Human Rights Council, EU, USA and ASEAN. However, despite this, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and the UN Department of Political Affairs (DPA) are taking no serious steps to secure such dialogue.

The fact that the DPA website still lists Ibrahim Gambari as leading UN diplomatic efforts on Burma – seven months after his resignation – is an indication of the low priority given to Burma by the Secretary General and DPA.

“Everyone knows the fake elections due in Burma will not bring real change,” said Zoya Phan. “We cannot have a situation where Ban Ki-moon ignores member states and sits back hoping for change. While Ban Ki-moon dithers, more prisoners are tortured, more women are raped, more villages burned, and more children die from hunger and disease because the generals spent the money on guns and luxury homes.”

Full text of the letter from Prime Minister David Cameron:

“Dear Daw Aung San Suu Kyi

Today you will mark yet another birthday under house arrest – cut off from your children and your family. My thoughts, and thoughts of so many people in Britain and across the world, will be with you and with the people of Burma. The injustice of your continuing detention mirrors the injustice that the regime has inflicted on your country and your people for so many years. Throughout that time, you have stood firm, at enormous personal cost, for the principles of liberty and justice. You have become a powerful symbol of the strength of the human spirit.

Like my predecessor, I personally have long found your example deeply inspiring. I want to assure you that as Prime Minister, I will maintain a close interest in Burma. The British Government I lead will do all it can, both internationally, working through the United Nations, and bilaterally, to bring a brighter future for Burma and your people, in which they enjoy full human rights and true democracy.

I have never forgotten your own request: that we should use our liberty to help the Burmese people to obtain theirs. I promise we will do everything we can to achieve that.”

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This post is in: Press Release

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