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Human Rights Group Condemns Arrest Extension of World’s Only Imprisoned Nobel Peace Prize Recipient in Burma, Launches “New, Sustained, High-level International Campaign” (click to view PDF)

Group Says Suu Kyi “Looking More Like China’s Prisoner”

For Immediate Release
May 25, 2007
Contact: Jeremy Woodrum: (202) 234-8022

(Washington, DC, May 25, 2007) A leading U.S.-based Burma human rights organization today condemned a reported one-year extension on the detention of the world’s only imprisoned Nobel Peace Prize recipient, Aung San Suu Kyi.

News agencies in Rangoon are reporting that officials of Burma’s ruling military junta visited the home of Suu Kyi, where she is held under house arrest, and informed her of the one-year extension. The move followed appeals by leaders of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, and the United Nations for Suu Kyi’s release.

“Aung San Suu Kyi is increasingly looking like China’s prisoner more than just the Burmese regime’s,” said Aung Din, policy director at US Campaign for Burma. “We urge China to modify its unilateral policy and join with ASEAN and UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and call for the immediate release of Aung San Suu Kyi and all political prisoners in Burma.”

The extension also follows an unprecedented appeal for Suu Kyi’s release by 59 former presidents and prime ministers from around the world. In a sign of how much Asia is changing, the letter was signed by former Prime Ministers and Presidents of Malaysia, India, Japan, Indonesia, the Philippines, Thailand, and South Korea. The appeal was also supported by every single living US President and those throughout Latin America, Africa, and Europe.

The former world leaders’ appeal to Burma’s military junta read: “On January 8, 2007 , new United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon called on you to release Aung San Suu Kyi. May 27, 2007 affords an excellent opportunity to respond to his request. Indeed, the UN General Assembly, former UN Commission on Human Rights, ASEAN, European Union, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, Japan, and many other countries have all called for Aung San Suu Kyi’s immediate release.”

Burma is ruled by one of the world’s most brutal military regimes, which has destroyed 3,000 villages in the eastern section of the country while imprisoning Suu Kyi and 1,200 other political prisoners. The regime has also recruited more child soldiers than any other country in the world.

The United Nations recognizes that there are more than a half million internally displaced persons inside Burma in addition to over two million refugees and illegal immigrants outside the country. Aung San Suu Kyi has been imprisoned for more than 11 of the past 17 years.

Since September 2006, Burma has been on the permanent agenda of the United Nations Security Council. The United Nations Security Council has taken action on numerous countries similar to Burma, but has been blocked from doing so on Burma by China and Russia.

“The extension of Aung San Suu Kyi’s arrest has doubled our determination to work for peaceful national reconciliation in Burma,” added Aung Din. “This marks the beginning of a new, sustained, high-level campaign to support the United Nations’ call for national reconciliation in Burma, and we are calling on citizens throughout the world to join us in this effort.”

Aung San Suu Kyi is expected to remain in the news as her 62nd birthday on June 19th approaches. Celebrities, the music industry, and grassroots citizens are all planning action. USCB has planned 300 events around the United States for Aung San Suu Kyi’s 62nd birthday as part of a new international campaign.