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Burmese Assistance Association for Political Prisoners launches spring petition drive
The indigenous pro-democracy and pro-individual liberty (freedom of speech, religion, assembly, etc) Burmese group AAPP (Assistance Association for Political Prisoners) has launched a petition drive this spring for the release of those arrested for nonviolent political expression. Read more about the campaign here: http://www.irrawaddy.org/article.php?art_id=15283#comment
Bangkok, Thailand (13 March 2009)
A global signature campaign for the release of Burma’s political prisoners has been launched today, on Burma’s Human Rights Day. The campaign aims to collect 888,888 signatures before 24 May 2009, the legal date that Nobel Peace Prize winner Daw Aung San Suu Kyi should be released from house arrest. Over 150 Burma exile and solidarity groups are participating in the campaign. Events and activities will take place around the world, including in Bangkok, Chiang Mai, London, Dublin, New Delhi, Hong Kong, Manila, Seoul, Jakarta, Sydney, and Tokyo.
The petition calls on the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon to make it his personal priority to secure the release of all political prisoners in Burma, as the essential first step towards national reconciliation and democratization in the country. The target symbolises 8.8.88, the day the junta massacred some 3,000 people who courageously protested in Burma’s largest democracy uprising.
On 3 December 2008, 112 former Presidents and Prime Ministers from 50 countries sent a letter to the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon urging him to press for the release of all political prisoners in Burma by the end of 2008. 241 legislators from all over Asia also sent a public letter to the UN Secretary-General on 5 December conveying the same message. Over 2,100 political prisoners remain in Burma’s jails.
Tate Naing, a former political prisoner and secretary of the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners (Burma), said, “Political prisoners are not criminals. They have simply stood up for freedom and democracy. Without the release of all political prisoners, there can be no peace and stability in our country. But we need the UN Secretary General to step in and show strong leadership on this issue. With this signature campaign, we want to show Ban Ki-moon just how many people around the world care about this issue.”
The global signature campaign will run from 13 March to 24 May. To sign the petition, visit http://www.fbppn.net
For media interviews, please contact:
Soe Aung, Forum for Democracy in Burma: +66(0)818399816
Dr Naing Aung, Forum for Democracy in Burma: +66(0)818837230
Tate Naing, Assistance Association for Political Prisoners (Burma): +66(0)812878751