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Posts tagged ‘Aung San Suu Kyi’

Stand With Joan

Dear Gabriel,

It is impressive how powerful the nonviolent human rights movement has become.

But unless we are constantly vigilant in standing up for human rights, we risk losing them.

Here’s what’s happening, and why I’m urging you to stand with me and take action:

After a year of both promising advances and broken promises, Egypt’s transition to accountable government is an open question. Despite activist progress, women remain marginalized from leadership positions, the new civilian government is without a constitution, and officials are still using Mubarak-era laws to attack the media and freedom of speech.

Here in the U.S., the state of Texas just executed a man, Marvin Wilson, with an IQ of 61, despite the U.S. Supreme Court’s 10-year ban on executing people with “mental retardation.”

House lawmakers continue to hold up reauthorization of an inclusive Violence Against Women Act, leaving the fate of critical new protections for Native American and Alaska native women, immigrant women, and lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people in limbo.

We must not stand by while human rights are under attack. Action is the antidote to despair.

I’ve been with Amnesty from the very beginning, and this month, during our September Membership Drive, I’m reminding myself and others to raise our voices for Amnesty to defend human rights for all.

Donate today to help Amnesty respond to these assaults on human rights.

Amnesty has a bold goal of inspiring 50,000 gifts during the drive, and is offering a 2-for-1 match on your donation before Sept. 30.

Amnesty knows what it takes to fight for human rights on a global scale.

To this day I am still deeply moved and inspired by the story of Burmese human rights defender and former prisoner of conscience Aung San Suu Kyi. Thanks to the persistence and solidarity of human rights advocates like you, Suu Kyi is free to continue her pro-democracy work and spread her message of freedom and dignity.

Freeing Suu Kyi took 21 years of unwavering activism. This is what it means to be a part of the Amnesty movement.

Please, give no ground to doubt. Go forward in the fight for human rights with Amnesty. Click here to stand with Amnesty during the Membership Drive today.

We are counting on your concern, caring, love, and nonviolent action.

In Peace,
Joan Baez
HUMAN RIGHTS DEFENDER

21 Years Later

Dear Gabriel,

21 years later, the Nobel Peace Prize is finally where it belongs — in the hands of Aung San Suu Kyi.

The Burmese human rights defender made history this weekend when she officially accepted the Nobel Peace Prize in Oslo, Norway. When Suu Kyi was originally awarded the Prize in 1991, she was under house arrest and couldn’t accept it in person. She wasn’t freed until November 2010 — after years of international pressure and thousands upon thousands of letters from Amnesty activists like you demanding her release.

We shone a light for Aung San Suu Kyi. Now we need to shine a light of freedom for every last prisoner of conscience in Myanmar. Hundreds of political prisoners remain behind bars there, simply for calling for freedom and democracy.

Myanmar must unlock the doors and free all prisoners of conscience now!

Watching Aung San Suu Kyi travel freely around the world with passport and now Nobel Peace Prize in hand fills us with joy and hope. But we cannot rest until all prisoners of conscience have been freed. And this is what Aung San Suu Kyi herself urged us to do in her Nobel acceptance speech on Saturday:

“… I was once a prisoner of conscience. As you look at me and listen to me, please remember the often-repeated truth that ‘one prisoner of conscience is one too many.'” — Aung San Suu Kyi

Today in Dublin, Ireland, Amnesty International will celebrate the remarkable life’s work of Aung San Suu Kyi by awarding her the prestigious “Ambassador of Conscience Award.” There is no better day to honor Suu Kyi and echo the powerful message that she and Amnesty International have long supported — that human rights matter.

When you take action now, Myanmar’s government will hear our message loud and clear — where there is freedom for one, there must be freedom for all!

In solidarity,

Michael O’Reilly
Senior Director, Individuals at Risk Campaign
Amnesty International USA

Hope In Burma

Personal Note: Our local AIUSA Group in Santa Cruz (the fifth to be started in the U.S.) has been working for the release of two specific individuals in Burma for years. It has now been confirmed that one of them and possibly the other, have been released as part of this recent government amnesty. – Gabriel

From Nation of Change and Inter Press Service
by Jim Lobe
14 January 2012

Burma Release, Ceasefire Hailed by Obama, Rights Groups

he administration of U.S. President Barack Obama Friday hailed the release by the Burmese government of hundreds of political prisoners, suggesting that it went far toward satisfying Washington’s conditions for fully normalizing ties between the two countries.

In a statement released by the White House after the first releases were confirmed, Obama called it a “crucial step in Burma’s democratic transformation and national reconciliation process”.

“I have directed Secretary (of State Hillary) Clinton and my Administration to take additional steps to build confidence with the government and people of Burma so that we seize this historic and hopeful opportunity.”

For her part, Clinton, who met last December with President Thein Sein and the country’s most famous dissident, Nobel Peace Laureate Aung San Suu Kyi, during the first trip by a U.S. secretary of state to Burma in nearly 60 years, called the releases “a substantial and serious step forward in the government’s stated commitment to political reform”.

She added that the administration will soon send an ambassador to Burma, among other measures, to “strengthen and deepen our ties with both the people and the government”.

She also praised a ceasefire agreement reached Thursday between the government and the six-year-old Karen National Union (KNU) insurgency as an “important step forward”.

At the same time, she stressed, as did Obama in his statement, that full normalization will depend on continuing progress on all fronts, “including taking further steps to address the concerns of ethnic minority groups, making sure that there is a free and fair by- election, and making all the releases from prison unconditional, and making sure that all remaining political detainees are also released.”

International human rights group echoed the administration’s praise but also warned against a rush toward normalization, noting that the 651 political prisoners to be freed by the amnesty announced Friday may still leave as many as 1,000 behind bars.

“Today’s release of some of Myanmar’s political prisoners was the result of concerted, sustained pressure by the international community and bold leadership by the United States,” said Suzanne Nussel, executive director of the U.S. chapter of Amnesty International (AIUSA).

“While we welcome the releases, thousands more remain behind bars. Pressure for progress on the remaining prisoners and other human rights concerns in Myanmar must not abate,” she said.

“The risk is that the restoration of ties between the two countries may be premature and could weaken the pressure to address critical areas of unfinished business in addressing serious human rights abuses in Myanmar.”

“The United States has demonstrated that engagement combined with pressure can deliver important breakthroughs, and must sustain both elements of its approach.”

Similarly, New York-based Human Rights Watch (HRW) hailed the release as a “crucial development in promoting respect for human rights in Burma” but called for all remaining political prisoners to be freed “immediately and unconditionally”.

Read entire article at Nation of Change.

Sliver of Hope in Burma

From BBC NEWS ASIA
18 November 2011

Suu Kyi’s NLD democracy party to rejoin Burma politics.

The party of Burma’s pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi has agreed to re-enter the political process and contest parliamentary elections.

On Friday her National League for Democracy said it would register to run in the as yet unscheduled by-elections.

The party boycotted the last polls in November 2010, the first in 20 years.

Meanwhile the US is to send Hillary Clinton to Burma next month, amid what President Barack Obama called “flickers of progress” in the nation.

Mr Obama spoke to Aung San Suu Kyi before deciding to send Mrs Clinton, who will be the first US secretary of state to visit in 50 years.

BBC South East Asia correspondent Rachel Harvey says the developments are being seen as endorsements of the steps taken by the military-backed but civilian-led government towards political reform.
‘Unanimous decision’

The announcement followed a meeting of 100 senior NLD leaders in Rangoon.

“We unanimously decide that the National League for Democracy (NLD) will register according to party registration laws, and we will take part in the coming by-elections,” a party statement said.

It boycotted the previous polls because of election laws that banned Aung San Suu Kyi – a former political prisoner – from running.

But this regulation has since been dropped, and Aung San Suu Kyi said she now wanted the party to contest all 48 seats left vacant in parliament by the appointment of ministers.

A spokesman for the NLD said it was likely that Aung San Suu Kyi would run for office. And the pro-democracy leader herself said she would do what she thought was necessary.

“If I think I should take part in the election, I will. Some people are worried that taking part could harm my dignity. Frankly, if you do politics, you should not be thinking about your dignity,” AFP news agency quoted her as saying.

“I stand for the re-registration of the NLD party. I would like to work effectively towards amending the constitution. So we have to do what we need to do.”

The NLD won elections in 1990 but was never allowed to take power. Aung San Suu Kyi spent years under house arrest but was freed a year ago by the new government.

Since then it has entered into dialogue with her and freed some – but by no means all – political prisoners.

Aung San Suu Kyi has given a cautious welcome to the moves, but says more progress is needed.

Mr Obama echoed her view in comments at a regional summit in Bali.

Read complete article at BBC NEWS ASIA

HUMAN RIGHTS & MYANMAR

Burmese (Myanmar) holding photo of democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi, who was recently released after decades of house arrest and imprisonment.

Our local Amnesty International (AI) group was one of the first ones established in the U.S. In fact, we were the 5th. For over 40 years we, along with millions of people worldwide, have taken action to have prisoners of conscience released (people who have not committed any act of violence and are imprisoned solely for their political, religious or personal views and/or because of their gender or sexual preference); have fair and partial trials for anyone imprisoned; abolish the death penalty; and put a stop to torture and ill-treatment for any reason.

The Santa Cruz Chapter of AI has worked to have people released, torture stopped and people fairly treated while in detention, in Ethiopia, Guatemala, Mynamar, Tibet, South Africa, Zimbabwe, Sri Lanka, Pakistan and many more. Presently, we are trying to obtain the release of Myo Min Zaw and Ko Aye Aung, who were arrested in 1998 for distributing leaflets and organizing peaceful student demonstrations in Myanmar’s biggest city of Yangon. They have been given sentences of 52 years and 59 years respectively. They have reportedly been tortured as well during interrogation. Both men are prisoners of conscience detained solely for the non-violent expression of their beliefs.

YOU CAN DO SOMETHING AND HELP!

WRITE COURTEOUSLY WORDED LETTERS AND EMAILS TO THE AUTHORITIES IN MYANMAR. Call on the authorities to ensure that:

Myo Min Zaw and Ko Aye Aung are released immediately and unconditionally. They are prisoners of conscience who are imprisoned solely for the peaceful expression of rights guaranteed to them under the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights

• Myo Min Zaw and Ko Aye Aung are not subjected to torture or other forms of abuse including any and all cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment

• Myo Min Zaw and Ko Aye Aung are able to access necessary medical care and be allowed to receive visits from legal advisors and family members

• All prisoners of conscience held in Myanmar are released

HERE IS WHO AND WHERE TO WRITE:

Chairman, State Peace and Development Council
Senior General Than Shwe
c/o Ministry of Defense
Naypyitaw
UNION OF MYANMAR (Burma)
Salutation: Dear Senior General Than Shwe

Minister of Foreign Affairs
Nyan Win
Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Bldg. (19)
Naypyitaw
UNION OF MYANMAR (Burma)
Tel 011 95 67 41-2335
Fax 011 95 67 41-2336 or 011 95 97 41-2395
Email mofa.aung@mptmail.net.mm
Salutation: Dear Minister

Minister of Information
Brigadier-General Kyaw Hsan
Ministry of Information
Bldg. (7)
Naypyitaw
UNION OF MYANMAR (Burma)
Fax 011 95 67 412 363
Email Media.moi@mptmail.net.mm
Salutation: Dear General

Embassy of the Union of Myanmar
2300 S. Street NW
Washington, DC 20008
Fax 202-332-4351
Email info@mewashingtondc.com
Telephone 202-332-3344

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To join the Santa Cruz Chapter of AI and/or attend our monthly meetings, please contact Laura Chatham at 831-440-9738 or LChatham @ surfnetusa.com

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