Aucklanders joined with Amnesty International, members of Myanmar’s multi-ethnic community and New Zealand MPs in lighting 2,200 candles demanding freedom in Myanmar on Saturday, at a vigil to commemorate the 65th birthday of Daw Aung San Suu Kyi.
Myanmar’s pro-democracy icon and Nobel Peace Prize winner is one of more than 2,200 political prisoners, most of them prisoners of conscience, currently detained and prevented from participating in Myanmar’s first election in two decades, planned for later this year.
“Daw Aung San Suu Kyi’s very existence challenges the Myanmar Government’s authority because she has inspired the people of Myanmar’s hope for freedom,” says Patrick Holmes, CEO of Amnesty International.
“In honour of her birthday, we have called for New Zealand’s support in shining a light on the more than 2,200 people languishing behind bars in Myanmar because of their political beliefs.”
In the lead up to Myanmar’s elections, Amnesty International has launched a campaign demanding the release of Myanmar’s Prisoners of Conscience, and the guarantee of the “Three Freedoms” associated with the elections – freedoms of expression, assembly and association for all people in Myanmar.
“The repression of political repression is ongoing in Myanmar and those who show any dissent are increasingly under attack.”
“We are calling on Myanmar’s neighbours in the Association of South East Asian Nations to push the authorities to ensure that the people of Myanmar will be able to freely express their opinions, gather peacefully, and participate openly in the political process,” says Holmes.
See more about Amnesty’s Myanmar ‘Freedom’ campaign at http://www.amnesty.org.nz/our-work/myanmar-freedom-campaign