Democracy icon Aung San Suu Kyi has called for political change in Myanmar and has spent 14 of the last 20 years being punished for it. The military junta that has run the country since a 1962 coup has cracked down on political dissent, jailing thousands of reformists and activists. Aung San Suu Kyi, the primary face of the movement for democracy, has been kept under house arrest, unofficially detained, and subjected to other restrictions since the National League for Democracy (NLD), which she co-founded, won a 1990 general election. The NLD was immediately denied power by the ruling State Peace and Development Council.
Aung San Suu Kyi is one of Amnesty International’s 10 priority cases who you can help free by participating in our Global Write-a-thon running from December 5-13. She has most recently been placed under 18 months’ house arrest in August, a move that the international community has censured as a government pretext to prohibit her from participating in state elections scheduled for 2010.
Placing pressure on the Myanmar authorities to release Aung San Suu Kyi and allow the peaceful exercise of freedom of expression could be especially effective now. Addressing Asian state leaders on Saturday, General Thein Sein, Myanmar’s prime minister, announced that the government would be open to including Aung San Suu Kyi in reconciliation processes before the elections. In addition, it may ease some restrictions on her movement if she “maintains a good attitude.” While initially encouraging, the ambiguity of Thein Sein’s words do not guarantee Aung San Suu Kyi’s freedom or involvement in the elections, and with your help, Amnesty International will campaign for her immediate release in our Global Write-a-thon.
By Michele Hong, AIUSA Campaign for Individuals at Risk