Jun 22, 2009

Daw Aung San Suu Kyi's 64th Birthday, Activists' Verdict: NOT GUILTY!

On June 19, 2009 at Makati City, Republic of the PHILIPPINES about one hundred activists and supporters of the Free Burma Coalition – Philippines (FBC-Phils) trooped to the SPDC Myanmar Embassy to celebrate the 64th birthday of Burma’s democracy leader, Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, and to demand for her immediate and unconditional release from illegal detention.

Chanting the slogan, “Aung San Suu Kyi, Not Guilty!” the rallyists from the trade union, urban poor, youth/student, human rights workers and informal workers’ sectors brought with them floral arrangements bearing the words “NOT GUILTY” and a birthday cake with two candles formed in number 64. The activity is held as part of the simultaneous global actions celebrating Daw Aung San Suu Kyi’s 64th birthday.
“We know that Daw Aung San Suu Kyi is Not guilty of any of the charges trumped up by the military junta to silence her and Burma’s cry for genuine freedoms and democracy,” said an old lady holding a photo of Daw Aung San Suu Kyi. “She must be freed together with other political prisoners,” she continued in local language.

The demonstrators lighted the cake candles and serenaded Daw Aung San Suu Kyi with songs of freedom for her birthday. The demonstrators dispersed peacefully after the one hour program. About 20 local and foreign media agencies covered the activity.

FBC-Philippines thanks all the organizations and individuals who participated in the solidarity action – Initiatives for International Dialogue (IID), Asia Pacific Solidarity Coalition (APSOC), Alliance of Prograssive Labor (APL), Bukluran ng Manggagawang Pilipino (BMP-Solidarity of Philippine Workers), Partido ng Manngagawa (PM-Labor Party Philippines), Task Force Detainees Philippines (TFDP), Kongreso ng Pagkakaisa ng Maralitang Tagalungsod (KPML-Urban Poor Assembly), Partido Lakas ng Masa (PLM), SANLAKAS, Teatro Pabrika (Wokers’ Theatre), independent young bloggers.

Joining the international celebration of Daw Aung San Suu Kyi's 64th birthday, more than a hundred solidarity activists under the Free Burma Coalition-Philippines and Asia Pacific Solidarity Coalition (APSOC) today held a rally in front of the Burma embassy in Makati City and further denounced the recent detention of Daw Aung San Suu Kyi by Burma's military regime.

In Rangoon, National League for Democracy (NLD) members were making preparations at party headquarters for a similar celebration to those in previous years, including giving breakfast to Buddhist monks.

Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, has already spent 13 of the last 19 years under house arrest, and is currently undergoing a trial for allegedly breaching her term of house arrest after an American war veteran swam to her house and refused to leave. If found guilty, her jail terms would be extended to another five years.

Protesters brought a huge cake and red roses shaped in a slogan N-O-T G-U-I-L-T-Y symbolizing the groups’ opposition to the current trial of the world's only imprisoned Nobel laureate.

Egoy Bans, FBC-Phils spokesperson said, “Calling for Aung San Suu Kyi's immediate and unconditional release would be the best gift that we could offer on her birthday. Her current trial is an outright insult to justice and a counter-productive move that will not contribute any significant political progress in Burma.”

The FBC-Phils spokesperson quickly added, “How could we trust a trial where the junta is acting as witness, prosecutor, and judge all at the same time? The junta has a world of its own and would like to rule Burma using just the edicts of the barbaric era.”

“Teatro Pabrika” a cultural group of trade union activists also staged a “harana” (serenade) for Daw Aung San Suu Kyi singing songs of freedom.

“Aung San Suu Kyi is still widely recognized as the crucial and unifying factor to realize genuine democracy and fair governance in Burma. There is no way Burma can achieve genuine national unity if the junta generals continue to persecute those who oppose them," Bans explained.

Moreover, FBC-Phils called on the ASEAN and United Nations to immediately craft concrete steps to help the other 2,100 political prisoners languishing in Burmese jails today.

A global petition was delivered on Monday by Free Burma’s Political Prisoners Now campaigners to UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, signed by more than 670,000 people from 220 countries including the Philippines, calling for the release of all Burma’s political prisoners, especially Aung San Suu Kyi.

Bans stressed, “Aung San Suu Kyi and the rest of Burma’s political prisoners need more than “statements of support.” The ASEAN and UN should find an avenue where they could translate the world’s outrage to concrete political action for change to happen in Burma.”

Bans concluded, “Burma and its peoples need help. The Burmese regime is blinded with so much power making the junta generals incapable of seeing the actual suffering of their own people. Now, it is everybody's duty to act.”

Jun 17, 2009

Thai Prime Minister:Suu Kyi’s detention affects Asean’s credibility

If the junta fails to release pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi, the Association of Southeast Asian Nation’s (Asean) credibility will be “affected inevitably,” Thai Prime Minster Abhisit Vejajjiva told The Far Eastern Economic Review recently.

During the Far Eastern Economic View’s interview published on Tuesday, 16 June, Abhisit, who is now chairman of Asean, said Burma’s political process will have to be inclusive to gain the acceptability and respectability of the international community.

Thai Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva, center, is surrounded by security guards. (Photo: AP)

However, the Thai PM said the Burma issue is the responsibility of the international community and not just Asean.

“I think it would be unfair to single out Asean and I think the whole international community puts in an effort and if its not succeeding, why single out Asean?” he said.

“On the contrary, we think that Asean has helped to facilitate possible channels and processes by which the situation there can be resolved and we’ll continue to do that,” he said, adding that UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon would also play a role in the issue.

Commenting on Burma’s membership with Asean, Abhisit said Asean did not want to isolate or alienate the Burmese military further.

“I doubt that that would make the situation better now,” Abhisit said, stating that it would be wrong to say it was the fault of Asean that things were not going as well as people would like.

“We accept our responsibility and we’re doing what we can,” he said.

Answering a question about how confident Asean’s was of Suu Kyi’s release, Abhisit said: “It’s difficult to say. It’s difficult for anybody to say with certainty.”

Abhisit said that what Asean is looking at more is the direction that Than Shwe and the leadership of Burma will take, which clearly begins with how the trial plays out.

“So we’ll watch that,” Abhisit said.

Jun 6, 2009

Suu Kyi’s trial delayed a week

The trial of Burma’s opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi for allegedly violating conditions of her house arrest was delayed for a week over efforts to reinstate three defense witnesses, one of her lawyers said Friday.

Suu Kyi’s trial was adjourned until June 12 while a higher court hears a request by her attorneys to reinstate the defense witnesses who were earlier barred from testifying at her trial, lawyer Nyan Win said. The decision on those witnesses was expected later Friday.

The lower District Court earlier disqualified all but one defense witness—legal expert Kyi Win. Those rejected were all members of Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy party.

They include prominent journalist and former political prisoner Win Tin, the party’s vice chairman Tin Oo, currently under house arrest, and lawyer Khin Moe Moe.

“The next session will be coming (next) Friday, but there won’t be final arguments that day,” Nyan Win said.

Suu Kyi was detained last month after American John W. Yettaw swam to her lakeside home without her consent and stayed for two days. Yettaw, a part-time contractor from Falcon, Missouri, claims he had a dream that Suu Kyi would be assassinated and he went to warn her.

Suu Kyi has pleaded not guilty. Her defense team acknowledges that the 53-year-old Yettaw swam to her lakeside home, but they argue it was the duty of government guards outside her closely watched house to prevent intruders.

Both Yettaw and the Nobel Peace laureate could face up to five years in jail.

The trial has drawn condemnation from the international community and Suu Kyi’s local supporters, who worry the junta has found an excuse to keep her detained through elections planned for next year.

Suu Kyi, 63, has already been held in detention for 13 of the past 19 years, including the past six.

Jun 1, 2009

A Candlelight Vigil for the Release of Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and All Political Prisoners in Burma

In Unity for Her Liberty

(A Candlelight Vigil for the Release of Daw Aung San Suu Kyi

and All Political Prisoners in Burma)

Participating organizations: The Free Burma Coalition - Philippines (FBC-Phils), Initiatives for International Dialogue (IID), AKBAYAN Citizen's Action Party - Women Youth, Bagong Kamalayan Collective (New Awareness - women survivors of sexual violence), Movement for the Advancement of Student Power (MASP), and Partido ng Manggagawa - Women (Workers' Party - women's wing)

Donning fresh yellow flowers in their hair, the women will stage a candlelight vigil at the front steps of the EDSA Shrine as a symbol of solidarity to Daw Aung San Suu Kyi. They will bring photos of Daw Aung San Suu Kyi with slogans demanding for her immediate release.

The activity is part of the solidarity among peoples of southeast Asia dubbed as
"In Unity for Her liberty" holding simulatneous activities in Singapore, Thailand, Cambodia, Indonesia and the Philippines.

Daw Aung San Suu Kyi is a Nobel Peace Prize (1991) laureate who has been placed under house arrest for nearly two decades. The house arrest was set to expire at the end of this month but recent new charges against her seem designed to deliberately prolong her detention.


She is being tried on charges that she violated the terms of her current six-year house arrest after an American man swam across a lake in central Rangoon and spent a night at the waterfront villa where Aung San Suu Kyi has spent 13 of the last 19 years under house arrest. If found guilty she will spend another 5 years in detention.

The number of political prisoners in Burma has now reached 2,100 according to the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners-Burma (AAPPB) but the military regime of has just ignored all international demands for the unconditional and immediate release of prisoners including Daw Aung San Suu Kyi.

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