Release of Aung San Suu Kyi
Today I join with billions of people around the world to welcome the long-overdue release of Burmese democracy leader and Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Aung San Suu Kyi from house arrest.
Aung San Suu Kyi has endured enormous personal sacrifice in her peaceful struggle to bring democracy and human rights to Burma, including unjustified detention for most of the past twenty years. The Burmese regime has repeatedly rejected her offers to engage in dialogue and work together, trying instead to silence and isolate her. Through it all, Aung San Suu Kyi’s commitment to the Burmese people has not wavered.
The United States calls on Burma’s leaders to ensure that Aung San Suu Kyi’s release is unconditional so that she may travel, associate with her fellow citizens, express her views, and participate in political activities without restriction. They should also immediately and unconditionally release all of Burma’s 2,100 political prisoners.
We urge Burma’s leaders to break from their repressive policies and begin an inclusive dialogue with Aung San Suu Kyi and other democratic and ethnic leaders towards national reconciliation and a more peaceful, prosperous, and democratic future.
Secretary of State
13 November 2010
Today she has been freed. A few days after thousands fled into neighbouring Thailand to escape the violence that accompanied these unfair elections. A few days after reports of widespread election rigging have finally emerged from the few independent journalists working underground inside the country.
Today Aung San Suu Kyi has been freed. This is an enormous step. And today we celebrate alongside her family, her colleagues and friends, her supporters in Burma, around the world, in the refugee camps, and with her fellow Nobel Peace Prize winners who have campaigned for her freedom. We all celebrate today with joy, warmth and tears. We share a common exhilaration.
Today she has been freed. But tomorrow, we must once again confront, demand, remind, and campaign. For let there be no doubt about it, this major step must be a first step only. It has to be followed by many more. Standing with Aung San Suu Kyi and her supporters, we will work to ensure that these next steps are taken, so that the Burmese people may also be freed.
• 65 year old Suu Kyi, who is an ARTICLE 19 Honorary Board Member for her dedication to free speech, is the leader of the National League for Democracy and winner of the 1991 Nobel Peace Prize. Her party secured 80 per cent of parliamentary seats in the 1990 general election, despite her being detained at the time of the vote, but the military never allowed a democratic government to be formed and she has remained in detention most of the time since. Her release comes just days after sham elections organised by the Burmese military government. The national media was not allowed to cover the election freely, foreign journalists were barred from entering, political candidates were highly restricted, and the electorate was never properly informed of the election or the candidates and their opinions. No independent observers were present. The election results are not yet clear, but it appears that the military-aligned USDP has unsurprisingly been declared the winner.
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