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Joint Letter to Mr. Ban Ki Moon, Secretary-General of the United Nations (also published in the New York Times) (click to view PDF)

Burma Can’t Wait December 3, 2008
Mr. Ban Ki-moon
Secretary-General, United Nations
Dear Mr. Secretary-General:

We write this letter to applaud your public consideration of traveling to Burma, also known as Myanmar, before the end of the year. We encourage this trip because it would illustrate for the world whether or not the Burmese military regime is serious about making changes called for by the United Nations Security Council and your good offices. As you are aware, on October 11, 2007, the United Nations Security Council issued a presidential statement calling on the Burmese military junta to release all political prisoners in Burma, including the world’s only imprisoned Nobel Peace Prize Laureate, Aung San Suu Kyi. We are heartened that you have taken up this issue and reiterated in your budget request for your Special Envoy’s office to the UN General Assembly that a key benchmark to measure progress in Burma is whether all political prisoners in Burma, including Aung San Suu Kyi, are released by December 31, 2008. To date, in direct defiance of the United Nations Security Council and your good offices, the Burmese military junta has instead continued a major crackdown, increasing the number of political prisoners from 1,200 to over 2,100 since June 2007. We urge you to make it clear that all political prisoners in Burma must be released by the end of this year, regardless of whether you travel to Burma. If the Burmese junta continues to defy the United Nations by refusing to make these releases by the end of the year, we urge you to encourage the Security Council to take further concrete action to implement its call for the release of all political prisoners. The Burmese people are counting on the United Nations to take the required action to achieve the breakthrough they desperately need to both restore democracy to their country and address the serious humanitarian and human rights challenges that they face.
Sincerely,
Giuliano Amato
Prime Minister of Italy (1992-1993, 2000-2001)
Halldór Ásgrímsson
Prime Minister of Iceland (2004-2006)
Corazon C. Aquino
President of the Philippines (1986-1992)
Patricio Aylwin Azócar
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Hrant Bagratyan
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Valdis Birkavs
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