October 6, 2006

Three key diary dates:
9th October 2006 – Aung San Suu Kyi reaches 4,000 days in detention.
24th October 2006 – Aung San Suu Kyi reaches 11 years in detention.
12th November 2006 – Aung San Suu Kyi play premiers in London.

Aung San Suu Kyi, leader of Burma’s democracy movement, reaches a total of 4,000 days in detention on Monday 9th October. On October 24th she will reach another milestone, a total of 11 years in detention. There is currently no prospect of her being released.

“These milestones come and go, yet still most of the world looks the other way,” said Yvette Mahon, Director of the Burma Campaign UK. “The one ray of hope is that the United Nations Security Council is finally starting to address the situation in Burma. The Council must pass a binding resolution that includes a demand for the release of Aung San Suu Kyi and all political prisoners in Burma.”

The United Nations Security Council held its first formal discussion on Burma 29th September. The United States has said that it will work for a resolution to be passed by the Council, an initiative that has been given strong support by the British government.

The Council level discussions have also led to the United Nations secretariat finally becoming engaged with Burma at a senior level. UN Under-Secretary General Ibrahim Gambari is expected to return to Burma in a few weeks time and is likely to meet Aung San Suu Kyi. There are, however, concerns about whether Gambari is the right person to lead the UN effort on Burma, as he seems to be presenting an overly optimistic assessment of the situation there. Following his visit to Burma in May he seemed to believe regime spin about its commitment to democracy, and predicted the imminent release of Aung San Suu Kyi. The regime extended her house arrest for a further year within days of his return. On 29th of September he told the Council there had been progress, with the release of two political, prisoners, while in the same week the regime arrested several leading pro-democracy activists.

Aung San Suu Kyi’s current period of detention began on May 30th 2003 when a convoy she was travelling in was attacked by a regime run militia, the Union Solidarity Development Association (USDA). USDA thugs beat around 100 National League for Democracy supporters to death in a failed assassination attempt against Aung San Suu Kyi.

On Sunday 12 November (media only access to rehearsal on October 24th), ‘The Lady of Burma’, a powerful new play about Aung San Suu Kyi, Nobel Peace Prize winner and Burma’s pro-democracy leader, will show exclusively at the Old Vic Theatre, London. This is the first time that her story will have been brought to the London stage. Organised by the Burma Campaign UK (BCUK), ‘The Lady of Burma’ is a one-woman play starring Liana Gould and written and directed by Richard Shannon. Maureen Lipman will host the evening and contributors include Juliet Stevenson, Sinead Cusack, John Pilger, Glenys Kinnock MEP, and Prunella Scales. Tickets available now from the Old Vic Box Office. T. 0870 0606628 Prices start at £20. More information about the play is available at:http://www.burmacampaign.org.uk/pm/events.php

For more information contact Mark Farmaner on 020 7324 4713.

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