Rights & Democracy calls for the immediate release of Aung San Suu Kyi and all political prisoners in Burma

KyiMONTREAL – June 22, 2010 – Once again, Aung San Suu Kyi has celebrated her birthday under house arrest. The Nobel Peace Prize laureate and leader of Burma’s National League for Democracy (NLD) turned 65 on June 19. Since the NLD’s victory in Burma’s 1990 Parliamentary elections, Aung San Suu Kyi has spent more than 14 years under house arrest.

Rights & Democracy calls on the leaders of Burma’s military junta to release Aung San Suu Kyi and Burma’s 2,100 other political prisoners immediately and without conditions. Among these political prisoners are two winners of Rights & Democracy’s John Humphrey Award – Min Ko Naing (1999) and Su Su Nway (2006). Rights & Democracy also calls on the Government of Canada to denounce elections scheduled for this fall in Burma and reject the results. These elections have no chance of being free and fair considering the fact they are based on an illegitimate constitution and undemocratic electoral laws and will be organized by the ruling military junta. Rights & Democracy views the elections as little more than a token exercise aimed at legitimizing the military’s authority and consolidating its dictatorial grip on power.

On June 17, Tomás Ojea Quintana, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Human Rights, demanded that the military regime free Aung San Suu Kyi, whose detention is considered arbitrary and in violation of international human rights standards by the United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detentions.

Rights & Democracy’s involvement in Burma dates to 1990, the year Burma’s military refused to cede power to Aung San Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy party after its landslide election victory. Our Burma programme’s objectives include: ensuring a peaceful transition to democratic rule and the liberation of all political prisoners; empowering women and assuring their participation in the democratic process; documenting human rights violations committed by the junta; and supporting free and independent media through the Democratic Voice of Burma.