CSW urges UN action on Burma as world marks Aung San Suu Kyi's birthday

Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW) is marking the 64th birthday of Burma’s democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi today by calling on the United Nations Security Council to take immediate action to secure her freedom, the release of all political prisoners and an end to the Burma Army’s offensive against civilians in eastern Burma.

CSW is also calling for a universal arms embargo to be imposed, a commission of inquiry into crimes against humanity established and the UN’s “Responsibility to Protect” mechanism invoked. Aung San Suu Kyi, a Nobel Peace Prize recipient, has been held under house arrest for over 13 years.

Last month Burma’s military regime moved her to the notorious Insein Prison, where she is currently on trial, facing new, fabricated charges. In Karen State, the Burma Army and its proxy militia, the Democratic Karen Buddhist Army (DKBA), have intensified attacks on civilians.

According to the Free Burma Rangers, a relief organisation working in Burma’s conflict areas, two teenage Karen women have been raped and killed by Burma Army soldiers. Naw Pay, 18 years old, was eight months pregnant and Naw Wah Lah, aged 17, had a six month old baby. It is believed that they were raped and murdered by soldiers of Burma Army Light Infantry Battalion (LIB) 205.

Earlier this month, troops from LIB 205 and the DKBA attacked Ler Per Hur, a camp for internally displaced people (IDPs) in Karen State, forcing over 4,000 people from the camp and surrounding areas to flee to the Thai side of the border, where they are currently sheltering. According to the Free Burma Rangers, Ler Per Hur is now under the control of the Burma Army and DKBA. CSW has made many visits to Ler Per Hur in the past, most recently in February.

CSW’s East Asia Team Leader, Benedict Rogers, who has made almost 30 visits to Burma and its borders, said: “On Aung San Suu Kyi’s birthday, it is time for the international community to turn its tributes into action. Her unjust detention violates international law, and the continued imprisonment of over 2,100 activists is a scandal. The gross violations of human rights in Burma, particularly against the Karen people at this time, including the use of rape, forced displacement, destruction of villages, torture, forced labour and extra-judicial killing must be addressed. It is time for the UN Security Council to impose an arms embargo on the regime, establish a commission of inquiry to investigate crimes against humanity, and mandate the Secretary-General to make the release of all political prisoners, including Aung San Suu Kyi, his personal priority”.

For further information see  www.csw.org.uk.

CSW is a human rights organisation which specialises in religious freedom, works on behalf of those persecuted for their Christian beliefs and promotes religious liberty for all.

Aung San Suu Kyi’s period of house arrest was due to expire in May. Shortly before she was due to be released, the regime imprisoned her in Insein Jail and charged her with violating the terms of her house arrest, after an American, John Yettaw, allegedly swam across Inya Lake to her house and refused her repeated requests for him to leave.

Aung San Suu Kyi’s party, the National League for Democracy (NLD), won 82 per cent of the parliamentary seats in elections in 1990 but have never been allowed to take up their positions in government. CSW, in association with Partners Relief and Development, has launched a new online campaign, www.changeforburma.org, and is part of a coalition supporting the website www.64forsuu.org

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