FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Date: 8 August 2009
Parti Keadilan Rakyat
A-1-09, Merchant Square
No. 1, Jalan Tropicana Selatan 1
47410 Petaling Jaya
Telephone: +603 7885 0530
Fax: +603 7885 0531
AMNESTY AWARD FOR AUNG SAN SUU KYI
On behalf of KEADILAN, I would like to offer my heartfelt congratulations to Aung San Suu Kyi on receiving the Ambassador of Conscience Award for 2009 from Amnesty International on 27 July 2009.
Her unwavering courage and determination, as well as her immense personal sacrifice, have inspired millions around the world and have made her an icon for the universal struggle for democracy and human rights.
At the same time, the continuing illegal detention of the leader of a party which won a national election more than two decades ago is an affront to universal principles of justice and democracy. It reflects badly on the world that, after so long, the international community’s political will to put a stop to it has been found lacking.
It is even more shameful that the governments of ASEAN member countries, including Malaysia, have been even more half-hearted in their efforts to push the Junta to free Aung San Suu Kyi and restore democracy in Burma. They should by now be ready to admit that their strategy of neighbourly engagement and persuasion has been an abject failure. Worse still, it has facilitated continuing covert support of individuals and companies, including in Malaysia, doing lucrative business with the military junta, which has contributed not a little to its ability to cling onto their illegal power.
ASEAN should also abandon its misguided – not to mention immoral – policy of non-interference in the “internal affairs” of its member states, as if such affairs exist in a vacuum. The folly of this stand is by now obvious since, as a result of its continuing inability or disinclination to bring Burma into line, ASEAN’s reputation, and consequently its influence in the world, has suffered a significant decline. This in turn has caused considerable damage to the economic wellbeing and competitiveness of all member states. In short, ASEAN nations, in this global era, not to mention economic recession, disregard the Burma problem at their common peril.
August 8 marks the 21st anniversary of the Burmese people’s brave, but unfortunately unsuccessful, uprising aimed at overthrowing the military regime. By bestowing this award on Aung San Suu Kyi, Amnesty International, a universally respected organisation, is not only racking up the pressure on the junta itself, but giving a firm reminder to political leaders, especially Burma’s neighbours, to do more than simply utter politically correct platitudes regarding this important issue.
For the rest of us, as Aung San Suu Kyi remains in detention, let us be inspired anew by her shining example and let our outrage at the continuing injustice against her be reaffirmed. Let us redouble our efforts to press for her immediate release, as well as enhance our initiatives to establish freedom, justice and democracy in our own country, in Burma and in every nation.
WAN AZIZAH WAN ISMAIL
Parti Keadilan Rakyat