February 16, 1993

Nine Nobel Laureates, including the Reverend Archbishop Desmond Tutu and former President of Costa Rica Oscar Arias, arrive today, Tuesday 16th February 1993, on a mission to call for the immediate liberation of the 1991 Nobel Peace Laureate Aung San Suu Kyi, who has been under house arrest in Rangoon, Burma (Myanmar) for the past three and a half years. This is the first time that Nobel Laureates have ever undertaken such an initiative.

The Nobel laureates, who have been refused entry into Burma, arrive in Bangkok and from there will go to the Thai-Burmese border to interview refugees on the human rights situation in their country. Four of them will then travel to Geneva where they will be met by fellow laureates, to jointly present their findings to the 49th session of the UN Commission on Human Rights.

“Despite the international community’s demands, the Burmese government continues to deny Aung San Suu Kyi her fundamental human rights”, said Oscar Arias. “ We, like her, believe that non-violent action will effectively counter the violence of the Burmese regime.”

Rigoberta Menchu, 1992 Nobel Peace Laureate, will be in Geneva for the second part of the mission. “ I am very happy to be part of this intiative” said Menchu, “ I spoke about Aung San Suu Kyi when I accepted the prize in December, and it is great source of pride for me as a Quiche Indian and as a Mayan to participate in this profoundly humanitarian cause.”

The Nobel Laureates Mission is being organized by the Montreal-based International Centre for Human Rights and Democratic Development. “ Aung San Suu Kyi stands as a universal symbol of the fight for freedom and democracy,” said the Honorable Ed Broadbent, the centre’s President. “We hope that this initiative will draw the world’s attention not only to her plight, but to that of her people, including the estimated 1500 other political prisoners in Burma. It is time for the international community to act.”

For more information please contact the Burma Action Group.

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