In 2008 our group, in conjunction with Unison, Dundee Trades Council and the Burma Campaign (UK) successfully lobbied Dundee City Council to grant the Freedom of the city to Aung San Suu Kyi, the pro-democracy leader who has spent 13 of the last 20 years in detention. In addition to Aung San Suu Kyi there are over 2,000 political prisoners in Burma.
Given that Burma is to hold its first election since 1990 when Aung San Suu Kyi's National League for Democracy won a majority of parliamentary seats but were prevented from taking power, we have decided to make Burma one of our campaigns for this year.
Feb. 2011. Although the Burmese elections last year clearly did not represent true democracy and were followed by further repression and a continuation of the established military dictatorship, one positive development has been the freeing from house arrest of Aung San Suu Kyi. In recent weeks, a further very positive event occurred when Aung San Suu Kyi was able to be contacted by the office of the Amnesty Burma Campaign and participated in a telephone link-up when she spoke to approximately 40 different people over a period of about two hours. Amnesty's Director, Kate Allen was one of the first people to speak to her.
August 2011 Update: Amnesty International is now turning its focus to supporting a call for an investigation into allegations of war crimes against humanity in Burma. The UN Special Rapporteur for Human Rights in Burmas reported that crimes against the civilian population in Burma are " widespread and systematic " and that they were perpetrated by representatives of the government within a culture of impunity.
The UK government is one of a number of governments which have expressed support for the Special Rapporteur's call for the UN to consider establishing a Commission of Enquiry into human rights abuses in Burma.
We are being asked to write to two European countries, Sweden and Italy, to seek their support for a Commission of Enquiry into alleged war crimes and crimes against humanity. Details are available on the Amnesty website: www.amnesty.org.uk/burma