“Freedom” is the message Amnesty International will send during a candlelight vigil to mark Daw Aung San Suu Kyi’s 65th birthday, in Auckland on Saturday.
The Myanmar pro-democracy leader 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.
Amnesty International is joining with members of New Zealand’s Myanmar community to stand in solidarity with all of Myanmar’s prisoners of conscience, calling for their immediate FREEDOM.
“FREEDOM is also the demand we will be sending to the Myanmar Government and its closest allies in the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN),” says Patrick Holmes, Amnesty International’s CEO.
“Myanmar’s leader General Than Shwe committed to ‘free and fair elections’ in February this year. To meet that commitment he must immediately free all prisoners of conscience; provide immediate fair trials or freedom to political prisoners; and guarantee the right to freedom of expression, assembly and association to all people in Myanmar. And that’s a message all governments but particularly those within ASEAN countries must send to Myanmar,” says Holmes.
“This vigil is an excellent opportunity for New Zealanders to stand with the people of Myanmar and light a candle of hope for all those behind bars because of their political beliefs,” says Naing Ko Ko, Myanmar pro-democracy activist.
The vigil will open with speeches from Amnesty International, Myanmar community leaders, and New Zealand MPs before attendees will be invited to light candles spelling out FREEDOM. Buddhist Monk Venerable U Sumanasiri, from Myanmar, will lead the candle-lighting. Participants and members of the public will be asked to light candles while Ma Khin Khin Pa and Group perform ethnic Chin songs.
What: Candlelight vigil to mark the 65th birthday of Daw Aung San Suu Kyi
When: Saturday 19 June, 6:00pm – 8:00pm
Where: Aotea Chapel, 370 Queen Street, Auckland