Today, Aung San Suu Kyi, one of Canada's few honourary citizens, is on
trial by the illegitimate junta in Burma for allegedly offending the
terms of her illegal house arrest. The world is yet again put to shame
by continued and blatant violations of the rule of law and a host of
international conventions against one of history's most heroic
fighters for human dignity.
Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, a Nobel Peace laureate, has lived most of last
18 years under house arrest imposed by the military junta, which has
ruled Burma since 1962. She was first arrested after she and her
National League for Democracy (NLD) won two-thirds of votes cast in
the 1990 election. Her party has been denied access to government and
the junta has threatened her life and attempted to crush the
democratic movement she continues to lead. The current house arrest
resulted after she, during a very brief period of relative freedom,
led a peaceful procession in 2003. The junta responded with what the
UN Special Rapporteur referred to as "state-instigated massacre,"
killing 100 people and injuring many others, including Aung San Suu
In the most recent farcical development last week, the regime arrested
her again after an American stranger swam across a lake to her home
and violated her privacy. Now imprisoned in the notorious Insein
prison in Rangoon along with two female companions, Aung San Suu Kyi
faces the prospect of five more years of confinement. Given its
unspeakable track record, it is no stretch of imagination to suspect
that the intruding American was acting under the direction of the
junta, which would stop at nothing to thwart the pursuit of the rule
of law by the Burmese peoples led by Aung San Suu Kyi. Whatever the
reality, she clearly committed no breach of any Burmese law.
It is high time that the international community responded with
resolve and principle against the Burmese generals' continuing
violations of the covenants of the Universal Declaration of Human
Rights. The UN Security Council and the ASEAN governments must act in
unity now to put pressure on General Than Shwe and his regime to
release Daw Suu Kyi immediately. Canada must stand up and speak up to
protect Daw Suu Kyi, one of our own.
In addition, General Than Shwe and his accomplices should be charged
with crimes against humanity in the International Criminal Court.
Every Canadian should be concerned about the well-being of Daw Suu
Kyi. We should all demand that our government take action now.
Free Aung San Suu Kyi now!
In Canada, the call for international action has been joined by the
International Burmese Monks Organization (Canada Branch)
National League for Democracy, Canada Branch
Canadian Campaign for Free Burma
Canadian Friends of Burma
Burmese Studentsí Democratic Organization Canada
Burma Forum Canada
Burmese Muslim Association (Canada)
United Democratic Youth League (Canada Branch)
Arakanese Canadian Society (Toronto)
Kachin Canadian Organization of Toronto
Students for a Free Tibet Canada
The Quakers, and
Solidarnosc of Poland