October 6, 2004

On Sunday October 24th 2004 Aung San Suu Kyi will have been under arrest for a total of 9 years.

59 year old Aung San Suu Kyi, leader of Burma’s democracy movement, is serving her third term of house arrest. She was arrested on May 30th after a pro-regime militia attacked a convoy she was travelling in. Up to one hundred of her supporters were massacred. She is currently banned from receiving visitors and her phone line has been cut. No-one from the international community has seen her in three past seven months.

Aung San Suu Kyi’s periods of arrest:
20 July 1989 – 10 July 1995
23 September 2000 – 6 May 2002
30 May 2003 – current day

As Aung San Suu Kyi faces her tenth year in detention, the Burma Campaign UK is warning that unless governments and the UN respond to her calls for international assistance, she could face the rest of her life under house arrest. The European Union and United Nations have failed to respond to her calls for targeted economic sanctions against the regime, which spends around half its budget on the military.

“As Aung San Suu Kyi begins her tenth year under arrest, it is time for the United Nations Security Council to take action,” said John Jackson, Director of the Burma Campaign UK. “it shames the UN that to date the Security Council has not even put Burma on its agenda, let alone imposed any sanctions.”

For more information and comment contact Mark Farmaner, Media Officer, on 020 7324 4713, or John Jackson, Director, on 020 7324 4712.

NOTES TO EDITORS:

AUNG SAN SUU KYI PROFILE

Aung San Suu Kyi (pronounced Ong San Soo Chee), Burma’s pro-democracy leader and Nobel Peace laureate, symbolises the struggle of Burma’s people to be free.

She was born on June 19th, 1945 to Burma’s independence hero, Aung San, who was assassinated when she was only two years old.

Aung San Suu Kyi was educated in Burma, India, and the United Kingdom. While studying at Oxford University, she met Michael Aris, a Tibet scholar who she married in 1972. They had two sons, Alexander and Kim. On March 27 1999, while Aung San Suu Kyi was in Burma, Michael Aris died of cancer in London. He had petitioned the Burmese authorities to allow him to visit Suu Kyi one last time, but they rejected his request. He had not seen her since a Christmas visit in 1995. The government always urged Suu Kyi to join her family abroad, but she knew that she would not be allowed to return.

Aung San Suu Kyi returned to Burma in 1988 to nurse her dying mother and was immediately plunged into the country’s nationwide democracy uprising. Joining the newly-formed National League for Democracy (NLD), Suu Kyi gave numerous speeches calling for freedom and democracy. The military regime responded to the uprising with brute force, killing up to 5,000 demonstrators. Unable to maintain its grip on power, the regime was forced to call a general election in 1990.

As Aung San Suu Kyi began to campaign for the NLD, she and many others were detained by the regime. Despite being held under house arrest, the NLD went on to win a staggering 82% of the seats in parliament. The regime never recognised the results of the election.

She has won numerous international awards, including the Nobel Peace Prize, the Sakharov Prize from the European Parliament and the United States Presidential Medal of Freedom. This month she won the 2004 Asian Heroes poll for Time Asia magazine. She has called on people around the world to join the struggle for freedom in Burma, saying “Please use your liberty to promote ours”.

 


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