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Editorial: Aung San Suu Kyi Has a Birthday


Aung San Suu Kyi, founder of Burma's National League for Democracy and a winner of the Nobel peace prize remains incommunicado and under house arrest. Now sixty-one years old, Aung San Suu Kyi has been detained since 2003, when thugs affiliated with the Burmese government brutally attacked her convoy. She has spent the majority of the past fifteen years in detention without being charged.

Aung San Suu Kyi and other members of Burma's democratic opposition have been denied a voice in Burma's political process since 1990, when the National League for Democracy won an overwhelming victory in parliamentary elections. Burma's military junta refused to honor the results of the election. In May, the Burmese military junta extended Aung San Suu Kyi's house arrest for an additional twelve months.

Aung San Suu Kyi is one of at least one-thousand-one-hundred people in Burma who are imprisoned for the peaceful expression of their political views. These political prisoners include National League for Democracy vice-chairman U Tin Oo and Hkun Htun Oo, leader of the Shan Nationalities League for Democracy.

Journalist U Win Tin (PRON.: OO WIH(n) TIH(n)) has been in jail since 1989. U Kyaw Min (PRON.: OO Jaw min), a Muslim leader elected to Burma's parliament in 1990, is serving a forty-seven year sentence for allegedly violating immigration laws. And Aye Myint PRON.: A m-wint) was sentenced to a seven-year prison term for providing advice to farmers whose land had been confiscated by the Burmese military.

U.S. State Department spokesman Sean McCormack says, "It is long past time to redress these and other injustices." The U.S., he says, "reiterates its call on the Burmese regime to release these and all political prisoners and initiate the genuine dialogue with all elements of political life needed to bring about true national reconciliation."

U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice says, "The National League for Democracy and other opposition groups have demonstrated in good faith that they are willing to begin a real dialogue for peace and for national reconciliation." Ms. Rice says, "It is time for the Burmese regime to reciprocate."

Anncr: That was an editorial reflecting the views of the United States Government. For a transcript of this and other V-O-A editorials, or to receive editorials by email, visit the V-O-A Editorials internet home page at www-dot-voanews-dot-com-slash-editorials.

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