Vol. 5 Num 732 Mon. June 19, 2006  
Front Page

432 eminent citizens for Suu Kyi's freedom

Four hundred and thirty two eminent citizens of the country including leaders of political parties and socio-cultural, professional, and rights organisations, civil society leaders and editors of national dailies and weeklies yesterday demanded an end to the incarceration of Aung San Suu Kyi, the leader of Myanmar's democratic struggle.

The call came through a signature campaign on the occasion of the 61st birth anniversary today of Suu Kyi, who has been kept under house arrest by a military junta in Myanmar for over a decade.

South Asian People's Union Against Fundamentalism and Communalism (SAPUFC) collected the signatures.

Sixteen leaders of political parties, 116 members of professional, socio-cultural and rights organisations, and 300 other eminent citizens signed the call for restoring democracy in Myanmar by releasing Suu Kyi immediately from house arrest and by allowing her to exercise her democratic rights in her own country.

The signatories also expressed solidarity with the movement for restoration of democracy there.

Copies of the statement will be sent to the UN secretary general, and Asean (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) leaders.

Pointing out that Suu Kyi and her party the National League for Democracy in Myanmar, were prevented from forming a democratic government there despite winning 392 of the 485 parliamentary seats in the national elections in 1990, the statement said, "This is a serious violation of human rights and democratic values, as guaranteed by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights."

"At a time when most of the countries in Asia and other parts of the world are being run by democratically elected governments, the house arrest of Suu Kyi continues to be a stigma on democratic values cherished by the people of Burma," the statement said.

It went on saying that the norms and the practices of democracy dictate that a country should be governed by democratically elected representatives of political parties and not by any military junta. The military rule in Myanmar must be brought to and end as early as possible, it said.

"Not only the peace-loving people of Myanmar but also those in neighbouring countries have been victims of the military junta's barbaric mechanism of killings and torture over 44 years," read the SAPUFC statement signed by its General Sectary Shahriar Kabir.

Over 10 lakh Burmese refugees have been living in Bangladesh, India and Thailand. Over 2 lakh illegal Rohingya refugees have been living in Bangladesh for about 30 years, a situation which has become a threat to law and order in the southern region, according to the statement.

"We cannot remain unperturbed after witnessing absence of democracy and strong human rights violations in our neighbouring country especially when our country is not free from the curse of these," it said, expressing hope that the UN and Asean will take more effective steps than merely issuing statements.

The signatories include Sheikh Hasina, Monjurul Ahsan Khan, Rashed Khan Menon, Hasanul Haq Inu, Nirmal Sen, Prof Kabir Chowdhury, Air Vice Marshal (retd) AK Khandakar, Kamal Lohani, Barrister Rokanuddin Mahmud, Hena Das, Ayesha Khanam, Santu Larma, Sanjib Drong, Dr Qazi Kholiquzzaman Ahmad, Prof Abul Barkat, Monjurul Ahsan Bulbul, Barrister Amir-Ul Islam, Altaf Mahmud, Prof Muntassir Mamoon, Asaduzzaman Noor, Maj Gen (retd) KM Shafiullah, Prof Anu Muhammad, Advocate Sultana Kamal, Motiur Rahman, Rahat Khan, Atiqullah Khan Masud, Bazlur Rahman, Golam Sarwar, Abed Khan, Nurul Kabir, Shyamal Dutta, Golam Mortoja, Binod Bihari Chowdhury, Obaidul Huq, Sardar Fazlul Karim, Prof Khan Sarwar Murshid, Prof Mustafa Noor-ul Islam, Justice KM Sobhan, Kalim Sarafi, Prof Anisuzzaman, Prof Zillur Rahman Siddiqui, Maj (retd) Rafiqul Islam, Rafiqunnabi, Qayum Chowdhury, Ramendu Majumder, Syed Shamsul Haque, Prof Harunur Rashid and Prof AAMS Arefin Siddique.