March 13, 2009

Global Free Burma’s Political Prisoners Campaign Launches Today

A global signature campaign for the release of Burma’s political prisoners has been launched today, on Burma’s Human Rights Day. The campaign aims to collect 888,888 signatures before 24 May 2009, the legal date that Nobel Peace Prize winner Daw Aung San Suu Kyi should be released from house arrest.

“The regime wants the world to forget these brave activists. They have locked them up and thrown away the key. Today tens of thousands of people across the world are saying with one voice that they will not forget these innocent prisoners – the regime must set them free. It is time for the UN Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon to take a lead in securing their release, ” said Wai Hnin, Political Prisoners Campaigner at the Burma Campaign UK. “These prisoners, like my father, have committed no crime. They just want freedom for the people of Burma.”

Over 160 Burma exile and solidarity groups in 24 countries are participating in the campaign. Events and activities will take place around the world, including in Bangkok, Chiang Mai, London, Dublin, New Delhi, Hong Kong, Manila, Seoul, Jakarta, Sydney, and Tokyo.

The petition calls on the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon to make it his personal priority to secure the release of all political prisoners in Burma, as the essential first step towards national reconciliation and democratization in the country. The target symbolises 8.8.88, the day the junta massacred some 3,000 people who courageously protested in Burma’s largest democracy uprising.

On 3 December 2008, 112 former Presidents and Prime Ministers from 50 countries sent a letter to the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon urging him to press for the release of all political prisoners in Burma by the end of 2008. 241 legislators from all over Asia also sent a public letter to the UN Secretary-General on 5 December conveying the same message. Over 2,100 political prisoners remain in Burma’s jails.

Tate Naing, a former political prisoner and secretary of the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners (Burma), said, “Political prisoners are not criminals. They have simply stood up for freedom and democracy. Without the release of all political prisoners, there can be no peace and stability in our country. But we need the UN Secretary General to step in and show strong leadership on this issue. With this signature campaign, we want to show Ban Ki-moon just how many people around the world care about this issue.”

The global signature campaign will run from 13 March to 24 May. To sign the petition, visit Free Burma’s Political Prisoners Now

For more details contact Wai Hnin, Political Prisoners Campaigner at the Burma Campaign UK : +44 (0)207 324 4710
Notes to Editors.

Wai Hnin’s father is Mya Aye. Mya Aye is currently serving a sentence of 65 and a half years for campaigning against the Burmese Junta. He has been imprisoned for 8 of the last 18 years. He is currently imprisoned in Loikaw prison, Eastern Burma, 551 miles from his hometown, Rangoon.

Mya Aye is in poor health, suffering from heart problems, having previously had a heart attack but is denied proper medical treatment by the regime.

For More Information:
Click here to find about more about Political Prisoners in Burma.

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