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60 Days to 60th Birthday of Aung San Suu Kyi (click to view PDF)

Campaigners Organize Global Days of Action to Free World’s Only Imprisoned Nobel Peace Prize Recipient on Her 60th Birthday

“As long as she remains under arrest, none of us is truly free,” says South Africa’s Desmond Tutu

For Immediate Release
April 20th, 2005
Jointly Issued by the US Campaign for Burma, Burma Campaign UK, and Alternative ASEAN Network on Burma
For More Information: 
United States (US Campaign for Burma): Jeremy Woodrum or Aung Din, 202-223-0300
Europe (Burma Campaign UK): Mark Farmaner,  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. (44) (0) 7941239640
Asia (Alternative ASEAN Network on Burma): Debbie Stothard, (66) 1 686 1652 


(Washington, DC, London and Bangkok) Sixty days before the 60th birthday of the world’s only imprisoned Nobel Peace Prize recipient, leading organizations and individuals working for freedom and democracy called on individuals, organizations, and leaders around the world to take action to free Burma’s Aung San Suu Kyi.

The effort is modeled on global demonstrations and rallies in 1988 to free former South African leader Nelson Mandela when he was still imprisoned on Robben Island.

On her 60th birthday Aung San Suu Kyi will have spent a total of 2,523 days in detention. “We need the world to stand tall for Aung San Suu Kyi on June 19th,” said spokespersons from the United States, Europe, and Asia. “Just as the world rallied to free Nelson Mandela, we must free Aung San Suu Kyi.”

Said Desmond Tutu, 1984 Nobel Peace Prize recipient from South Africa, “We call on individuals, and governments, to support publicly Aung San Suu Kyi, on her birthday, June 19th. I support activities that call for her immediate and unconditional release; I applaud all human rights campaigners who are working on her behalf, and that of her countrymen and women. As long as she remains under arrest, none of us is truly free.”

The actions include scores of events around the world, from the USA to European, South Africa, the Middle East, and Asia, including coordinated demonstrations at over one dozen embassies of Burma’s ruling dictator Than Shwe on Friday, June 17th–two days before Suu Kyi’s 60th birthday. In the United States, the US Congress will host an event dedicated to Aung San Suu Kyi on June 16th, while organizers have planned 60 events in 25 US states on June 19th. Organizers of these events will “arrest” themselves for 24 hours in their homes, to show support for Aung San Suu Kyi, who has been held under arrest for nearly 10 of the past 15 years.

Added the organizers, “We call on current and former world leaders–including heads of governments and the United Nations–to issue public demands for Aung San Suu Kyi’s freedom on her 60th birthday. Use your liberty to free her.”

Since 1988, Aung San Suu Kyi has led an international campaign to end over 40 years of brutal military rule in the Southeast Asian country of Burma. After a nationwide uprising was crushed in 1988, she led her political party the National League for Democracy to an 82% victory in a national election in 1990. The ruling dictatorship refused to recognize the results and has kept her locked for ten of the past 15 years.

In the meantime, Burma’s regime has recruited up to 70,000 child soldiers (far more than any other country in the world), instituted a nationwide system of modern-day slavery, and imprisoned over 1,400 political activists.“We also call on the United Nations Security Council to end its deafening silence. While the Security Council dithers, Burmese people are dying. Kofi Annan should immediately call for Burma to be placed on the Security Council agenda.”

Annan has refused numerous requests to bring Burma before the UN Security Council. His envoy to Burma Razali Ismail claims that Annan does not have the power to do so, even though such authority is clearly spelled out in Article 99 of the UN charter, which states: “The Secretary-General may bring to the attention of the Security Council any matter which in his opinion may threaten the maintenance of international peace and security.”

Last year, MTV organized a campaign in which 100,000 individuals emailed Annan calling for action, while the US Senate, Australian Senate, and The Netherlands Senate all passed resolutions and motions calling for the Security Council to act. Meanwhile, leading governments in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations have been threatening to revoke Burma’s scheduled chairmanship of the organization in 2006 unless it carries out concrete reforms.