Washington, D.C. (November 13, 2010) – Daw Aung San Suu Kyi who turned 65 on June 19, 2010, was released from her in-home detention by the Myanmar military junta last weekend, ending an off-and-on arrest and detention for most of 20 years. The White House Office of the Press Secretary on Monday released a statement form President Barack Obama on the release of Suu Kyi, a Nobel Peace Laureate and still considered Burma’s pro-democracy leader by nationals and expatriates worldwide.
“While the Burmese regime has gone to extraordinary lengths to isolate and silence Aung San Suu Kyi, she has continued her brave fight for democracy, peace, and change in Burma. She is a hero of mine and a source of inspiration for all who work to advance basic human rights in Burma and around the world. The United States welcomes her long overdue release.
“Whether Aung San Suu Kyi is living in the prison of her house, or the prison of her country, does not change the fact that she, and the political opposition she represents, has been systematically silenced, incarcerated, and deprived of any opportunity to engage in political processes that could change Burma. It is time for the Burmese regime to release all political prisoners, not just one.
“The United States looks forward to the day when all of Burma’s people are free from fear and persecution. Following Aung San Suu Kyi’s powerful example, we recommit ourselves to remaining steadfast advocates of freedom and human rights for the Burmese people, and accountability for those who continue to oppress them.”
President Obama commented last week that the November 7 national elections in Burma were “neither free nor fair, and failed to meet any of the internationally accepted standards associated with legitimate elections.”
Obama said the elections were based on a fundamentally flawed process and demonstrated the regime’s continued preference for repression and restriction over inclusion and transparency.
Burma has detained approximately 2,100 political prisoners, including Aung San Suu Kyi, preventing them any opportunity to participate in the process that elected the leading pro-democracy party, the National League for Democracy, to power in 1990, two years after a bloody political crackdown on demonstrators.
The military regime refused to relinquish power and has since detained leaders and has denied the registration of certain ethnic parties, cancelled elections in numerous ethnic areas, and stage-managed the campaign process to ensure that pro-democracy and opposition candidates who did compete faced insurmountable obstacles.
“Ultimately, elections cannot be credible when the regime rejects dialogue with opponents and represses the most basic freedoms of expression, speech, and assembly,” Obama added.
“We will monitor the situation in Burma closely in the weeks and months ahead,” he added. “The United States will continue to implement a strategy of pressure and engagement in accordance with conditions on the ground in Burma and the actions of the Burmese authorities.”