More than 60 British MPs – almost 1 in 10 MPs – are expected to attend a reception for Aung San Suu Kyi in the House of Commons. The reception, organised by the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Democracy in Burma, will be attended by Ian McCartney MP, Foreign Office Minister responsible for Burma, Shadow Foreign Secretary William Hague MP, and Liberal Democrat Shadow Foreign Secretary Michael Moore. At least two other government ministers are expected to attend.
The evening reception follows a day of demonstrations in London. More than 100 demonstrators held a protest outside Downing Street calling on the British government to do more to pressure the regime in Burma. Protesters then marched to the Burmese Embassy in nearby Mayfair.
Tony Blair released the following statement today:
“I am deeply saddened that today Aung San Suu Kyi will spend yet another birthday under house arrest cut off from her family and the outside world, and unable to contribute to the healing of the nation for which she has sacrificed so much.
As the period of her detention lengthens, the calls for her freedom from the international community grow louder. I add my voice to those calls. I strongly believe that, only by releasing Aung San Suu Kyi and the other political prisoners, can Burma move towards inclusive national reconciliation, the restoration of democracy and full respect for human rights. Her release can help usher in a new chapter.
I call again on the Burmese Government to release Aung San Suu Kyi immediately as the first step towards healing the wounds of a country that has suffered for too long.”
“Tony Blair’s call for Aung San Suu Kyi’s release is welcome,” said Zoya Phan, Campaigns Officer at Burma Campaign UK, “but we need words to be turned into action. He doesn’t talk about Burma when meeting his counterparts in Asia, particularly the Indian and Chinese Prime Ministers and Presidents. There needs to be high level engagement on Burma if we are to see change in my country. We hope that Gordon Brown will take a stronger personal interest once he becomes Prime Minister.” Gordon Brown recently published a book – ‘Courage: 8 Portraits’ – which included a chapter on Aung San Suu Kyi.
There will also be readings and performances of the play about Aung San Suu Kyi – The Lady of Burma – taking place in 16 countries and 31 locations around the world, including 11 in the UK and 6 in the USA.
To contact Zoya Phan, Campaigns Officer at Burma Campaign UK, call 020 7324 4710.