Happy Birthday to Aung San Suu Kyi

People admire her, support her, love her, miss her and want to shake hands with her during the celebration of her birthday. She, perhaps, also wants to join the celebration.

However, Aung San Suu Kyi, the Burmese democracy icon, like on 15 previous birthdays, will spend it under house arrest, celebrating in a low-key party with her two companions this time in her lakeside home in Rangoon.

Members of the Elders group of eminent global leaders pose with an empty chair representing Aung San Suu Kyi.

Her colleague and lawyer, Nyan Win who is a spokesperson of the National League for Democracy (NLD), said, “We always hope she can celebrate her birthday together with people freely. We are very sorry that we will not have this opportunity.”

“My birthday wish for her is that I hope everyone who loves her will always support her and call for her release,” Nyan Win said.

Suu Kyi will be 65 on Saturday. She has spent 15 of the past 21 years under house arrest in her lakeside home.

Suu Kyi’s party will also hold a birthday event in Rangoon on Saturday. The party will offer food to monks, make donations to needy people and provide school material to students.

World leaders as well as her Burmese supporters called for her immediate release to mark her 65 birthday which will be celebrated around the world.

The Elders—a group of eminent global leaders founded by South African Nobel Peace laureate Nelson Mandela—called on Asean and the international community to assist the government, the opposition, ethnic minorities and religious groups in Burma to begin a UN-led process of reconciliation.

The Elders includes former United Nations secretary-general Kofi Anan, ex US president Jimmy Carter and South African Archbishop Desmond Tutu. 

Jimmy Carter, the former US President, said: “Aung San Suu Kyi is a global symbol of moral courage in the face of repression. As she spends yet another year in captivity, we urge the world, and especially Burma’s partners in Asean [Association of Southeast Asian Nations], to recognize that it is an oppressive and misguided regime that excludes her and thousands of other political activists from playing a part in their country’s future.”

Desmond Tutu, South African Nobel Peace Prize laureate, said, “National processes in Burma have been usurped by the military government. They do not serve the people. The elections due later this year will not be any different. With such deep fractures in society, the country needs an avenue for dialogue. Without a way to talk and reconcile with one another, the people will never achieve the peace and prosperity they deserve.”

Mary Robinson, the former president of Ireland and former UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, said: “My fellow Elders and I believe it is time to document systematically the crimes allegedly being committed against the people by the military government.”

Also, Martti Ahtisaari, the former president of Finland and Nobel Peace Laureate, said, “Neighboring countries have already experienced the effects of conflict in border areas and have the greatest interest in trying to prevent future instability. The international community should also make every effort to help Burma’s divided peoples to find a peaceful and prosperous way forward.”

Tomás Ojea Quintana, the former UN special rapporteur on human rights in Burma, said, “I urge the government of Myanmar [Burma] to heed the call of an independent United Nations human rights body to immediately release Daw Aung San Suu Kyi.

“I also call upon the government to release all prisoners of conscience in order to create the conditions for an inclusive election process and to demonstrate that it intends to take a more serious and sincere approach to its international obligations to uphold human rights.”

The Canadian ambassador to Thailand, Ron Hoffmann, said that his country will continue to support Suu Kyi and Burma’s democratic struggle while the nation imposes strong economic sanctions against the Burmese regime.

Among the the last of the personal handwritten letters by Britain’s former prime minister, Gordon Brown, after his resign on May 11, were two addressed to Nobel Peace Prize laureates Mandela and Suu Kyi.

In his letter to Suu Kyi, Brown wrote: “This is one of the last letters I write as prime minister, and I want it to be to you, to champion your cause for democracy in Burma and to say I will do everything I can to support you.

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