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Honoring Burma’s Democracy Icon on Her 14th Year in Detention and Highlighting Suffering of Ethnic Minorities in Burma (click to view PDF)

Supporters Mark Burma’s Democracy Hero’s 14th Year in Detention with Hope for a Brighter Future

U.S. Campaign for Burma
Immediate Press Release
October 23, 2009
Media Contact: Jennifer Quigley at (202) 234 8022

(Washington, DC) Tomorrow, on October 24, 2009, the leader of Burma’s democracy movement and Nobel Peace Prize Laureate, Aung San Suu Kyi will spend her 14th cumulative year under house arrest. In August of this year, Burma’s military regime, ruling the Southeast Asia country with guns and threats, extended her detention for 18 months, well beyond 2010 when it is planning to hold an election to put their sham constitution, designed to build a permanent military dictatorship, into effect.

Although she has been in isolation for 14 out of the last 20 years, Aung San Suu Kyi remains the hope of the people of Burma, the key to national reconciliation and democratization in Burma and an icon of democracy among freedom loving people around the world.

In honor of her sacrifice and leadership on behalf of the people of Burma, as well her principle of non-violence, U.S. Campaign for Burma has organized over 130 events throughout the United States, in which a documentary film, entitled “Crossing Midnight” will be screened. Set on the Thailand-Burma border, “Crossing Midnight” tells the story of a remarkable community of health workers and teachers in the face of incredible odds working to help ethnic minority villagers, who are continually displaced by Burmese army attacks and in dire need of protection, food and shelter. In this 30-minute long documentary, Director Kim Snyder demonstrates these selfless social workers offer not only assistance to the people but also hope to the next generation.

These events will be held in 33 states throughout America from October 24 to November 1, 2009, the week is named “Ignite for Burma Week”. About 60 Universities and Colleges, including the University of Pennsylvania, Dartmouth College, Pepperdine University and American University, over 35 churches and 35 communities will participate in a-week long event. The presentation of the film is part of a growing awareness campaign about the plight of Burma’s ethnic minorities. As part of the events, participants will gather signatures on a petition to U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations, Ambassador Susan Rice that calls for the Security Council to action to prevent further crimes against humanity inside Burma. Already about 10,000 have signed the petition.

“From these events, we try to educate people more about the struggle for freedom and democracy led by Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and the decades-long suffering of ethnic nationalities under the brutal military regime,” says Aung Din, Executive Director of U.S. Campaign for Burma. “Without addressing the situation of the ethnic nationalities, national reconciliation in Burma will never be realized and civil war will never end,” continues Aung Din.

Burma’s military regime is among the world’s most brutal dictators, locking up over 2,100 political prisoners while carrying out a scorched-earth war on ethnic minority civilians. A recent report by Harvard Law School’s International Human Rights Law Clinic found compelling evidence the regime is committing war crimes and crimes against humanity under a climate of impunity. Five leading judges that commissioned the report called for the UN Security Council to establish a Commission of Inquiry into crimes in Burma, and cited earlier efforts to establish the International Criminal Tribunals on Rwanda and Yugoslavia.