July 11, 1995

In a press conference this morning, Aung San Suu Kyi confirmed that she has been released unconditionally after 6 years held under house arrest. “I have always believed that the future stability and happiness of my nation depends entirely on the readiness of all parties to work for reconciliation”, said the Nobel Peace Prize winner at a press conference at her Rangoon residence.

The Burma Action Group welcomes the news of Aung San Suu Kyi’s release as a great victory for the international campaign which recently stepped up pressure to isolate the brutal SLORC dictatorship. The Burmese regime is desperate to avoid the type of legislation that was to be voted upon today at the US senate which would have introduced South Africa style sanctions on Burma.

The Burma Action Group does however remain cautious; the release of Aung San Suu Kyi is only the very beginning of a solution. Over a thousand political prisoners are still being held in Burma’s jails, human rights abuses such as forced labour and forced relocations are widespread throughout Burma. The Burma Action Group’s recent report “Burma; the alternative guide” details an upsurge of human rights abuses that are taking place as a result of the development of the tourism industry in Burma.

Sarah Sutcliffe, spokesperson for the Burma Action Group commented; “town folk and villagers throughout the whole of Burma are being brutally forced to work like slaves on projects to prepare the country for tourists – making roads and railways and cleaning up tourist sites – while we welcome the release of ASSK, we know these abuses will not stop tommorrow and we urge continued international vigilance to ensure that this first step towards democracy is followed up with a real commitment to move towards democratisation.”

The Burma Action Group will be holding a rally and march in the centre of London on Saturday 15th July to celebrate the release of Aung San Suu Kyi, but also to call for further moves towards democratisation in Burma; remembering all those political prisoners who still remain in detention in jails throughout Burma, and all those who continue to suffer brutal human rights abuses at the hands of SLORC. The Burma Action Group will be meeting at 1.00pm at the reformers tree in Hyde Park (just south of speakers corner, where all the paths converge).

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