13 Years – Let this one be the last!

by Charles Cherry

I received the following message in my inbox from Amy Greenfield of Christian Solidarity Worldwide:

Dear Friends,

On Friday, 24 October Burma’s democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi will have spent a total of 13 years in detention. In the past year, the number of political prisoners in Burma has almost doubled, to over 2,100, despite calls from the United Nations Security Council for their release.

We are writing to ask you to join with us in a protest to call for the release of all political prisoners in Burma.

The Burmese community in exile in London, supported by a coalition of campaign groups including Christian Solidarity Worldwide and the Burma Campaign UK, will hold a demonstration on Friday 24 October from 12pm-1pm at the Chinese Embassy in London, at 49 Portland Place W1B 1JL (near Oxford Circus tube).

This demonstration comes on a day when Asian and European leaders will meet in China for the ASEM summit, and that is why the decision has been taken to demonstrate outside the Chinese Embassy. We are calling on Asian and European leaders to put pressure on Burma’s military regime to release all political prisoners.  This would be a first step towards progress, before UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon visits Burma in December.

Ban Ki-moon’s proposed visit to Burma is an historic opportunity. For the first time, a UN Secretary General is visiting Burma to discuss the political crisis in the country, following his visit earlier in the year which focused on the humanitarian crisis in the aftermath of Cyclone Nargis. European and Asian governments, including China, have supported calls expressed by the UN for the release of political prisoners, and now the time has come for them to work together in pursuit of that goal. For too long the UN has engaged in rhetoric with little action.  It is now time to secure real change.  It is time to set some specific benchmarks of progress, with deadlines, for the regime to meet, starting with the release of political prisoners by the time Ban Ki-moon visits Burma in December.

Please join the protest and send a message to world leaders that they must turn their words into action.  If you are not able to be present on the day, please join us in praying for all the political prisoners in Burma and their freedom from oppression.

Don’t leave Burma’s democracy activists suffering in jails.

Yours in Christ,

CSW Advocacy Team