The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release

Sharon Singh, 202-459-8703

Amnesty International Welcomes Suu Kyi Release but Urges Myanmar to Release Other Prisoners of Conscience

Human rights organization worked on her release for more than 20 years


Amnesty International welcomes the release of Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, an Amnesty International prisoner of conscience, from house arrest in Myanmar.

Daw Suu Kyi co-founded the National League for Democracy (NLD), a pro-democracy political party that sought to counter the military junta that has ruled Myanmar since 1962. For nearly 15 of the past 21 years, Daw Suu Kyi has endured unofficial detention, house arrest and restrictions on her movement.

"The release of Daw Suu Kyi is beyond overdue," said Larry Cox, Amnesty International USA executive director. "Amnesty International members and other activists around the world tirelessly worked for her release for many years and welcome this news. However, many others still languish in Myanmar's jails for merely expressing their views and must be released immediately."

In 1990, the NLD won 80 percent of the parliamentary seats in a general election. Surprised at the landslide victory, the military junta refused to transfer power to Daw Suu Kyi and the NLD and jailed scores of political activists.

Currently 2,200 political prisoners are still in prison, most of them for exercising their right to freedom of expression, assembly and association.

In the United States, Amnesty International USA members and other activists' efforts to free Daw Suu Kyi included more than 67,000 pleas to U.S. and global leaders urging them to push Myanmar authorities, more than 11,000 petition signatures and thousands of letters urging the Myanmar authorities to release her and approximately 2,200 other political prisoners currently detained.

Hundreds of activists have rallied in front of the United Nations headquarters and Myanmar Permanent Mission in New York calling for the immediate and unconditional release of Daw Suu Kyi and all prisoners of conscience in Myanmar. More than 1600 activists have participated in the Stand with Suu Kyi photo action to support human rights in Myanmar.

"I worked on behalf of Suu Kyi for nearly 20 years, and this news is more than welcomed," said Jim Roberts, Amnesty International USA Myanmar country specialist. "Now that she has been released, Amnesty International calls on the Myanmar government to allow her to freely exercise her right to the freedoms of expression and association."

Amnesty International is a global movement of millions of people demanding human rights for all people - no matter who they are or where they are. We are the world's largest grassroots human rights organization.

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