Britain has called for jailed Burmese democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi to be immediately and unconditionally released as she prepares to mark yet another birthday in detention.
“Aung San Suu Kyi is 65 this Saturday, having spent 14 of the last 20 years under house arrest,” said Foreign Secretary William Hague.
“Her continued detention, and that of more than 2,100 other political prisoners in Burma (Myanmar), contravenes international human rights law and casts a long shadow over planned elections in the country.
“I urge the military regime to release all political prisoners immediately and unconditionally, and respect the human rights of Burma’s people.”
The Nobel Peace Prize laureate studied at Oxford University and married a British academic, Michael Aris. He died in 1999, ten years after she was placed under house arrest for helping set up the National League for Democracy.
The NLD won the last election in 1990 but was never allowed to take office, and Suu Kyi is barred from standing in polls planned for some time this year.
Jeremy Browne, Britain’s minister for southeast Asia, said Myanmar’s military junta should accept the democracy icon’s offer of dialogue to help the country move to civilian and accountable government.
“This is more than a human tragedy — it is a tragic waste of talent, vision and leadership for a country that desperately needs all three,” he said.
“The people of Burma have suffered enough. A genuine transition to civilian and accountable government is long overdue. I am committed to making sure the UK plays a part in helping them achieve this.”