Burma: Leaders of Asia and Europe asked to support call to release all Burma's political prisoners
Tutu and thousands of others submit solidaity petition to Nick Clegg ahead of ASEM meeting
Amnesty International today delivered a photographic petition to Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg ahead of his attendance, on the 4-5 October, at the Asia-Europe meeting (ASEM) in Brussels. The signatories are calling on Asia and Europe’s leaders to join together to urge the Burmese authorities to end human rights violations in the country and release all political prisoners.
The meeting is a major lobbying opportunity ahead of Burma going to the polls on 7 November - the country’s first elections in 20 years.
The petition is made up of more than five thousand photographs of Amnesty activists and famous faces, including Desmond Tutu, Nick Clegg, Nita May and Christopher Eccleston who have all been photographed with raised palms inscribed with the names of Burmese political prisoners to raise awareness of their plight.
There are currently more than 2,200 political prisoners in Burma, more than at any other time since the mass pro-democracy uprising in 1988.
Verity Coyle, Amnesty International UK’s Burma Campaign Manager, said:
“The huge response we have had to this action is testament to the global concern about conditions in Burma and the intensifying scrutiny the junta are facing in the run up to the elections.
“The ASEM meeting provides a unique opportunity for Burma’s neighbours and the wider international community to increase pressure on the ruling junta to free the 2,200 political prisoners in Burmese jails. Nick Clegg not only agreed to officially take receipt of the petition, but he himself added his own photograph to the gallery. That is tremendously encouraging as the UK government can play a substantial role in asserting the concerns of ASEM members.”
Nick Clegg, said:
“Htay Kywe is currently serving a 65-year prison sentence in a cell measuring 8 feet by 10 feet simply because he organised peaceful protests in Burma in 2007. That’s why I’m doing what I can to highlight his case.
“The Burmese regime’s treatment of its people and denial of rights like freedom of expression is deplorable. This Government will not rest until Htay Kywe and other political prisoners like him are free. ”
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