After her jaunt around the globe, getting a Nobel Peace Prize, meeting Bono and David Cameron and, of course, picking up the Amnesty Ambassador of Conscience Award – pretty much your average sort of week in my book – it was back to the day job for Aung San Suu Kyi yesterday.
It was great that the Burmese opposition leader was given the freedom to travel. It was amazing to witness the scenes of jubilation when she returned home as the Independent reported. But perhaps of even more significance was the news – as covered in the Guardian – that 46 political prisoners are set to be released, including the long-standing Amnesty case Ko Aye Aung. Aye Aung is a student leader who was arrested in 1998 for his part in peaceful pro-democracy demonstrations. He was given a 59-year jail sentence.
Now no hiding from it, those are all welcomed and Burma has done well on the PR front with them. It’s even been enough to convince some countries that everything is now a bed of roses in the picturesque south-east Asian state. Even, if the authorities have already lambasted Aung San Suu Kyi for calling it Burma and not Myanmar as the Telegraph reported. Cameron himself has even agreed to meet the country’s president, and the US has also just appointed a new ambassador. But the world should not be fooled, Burma ain’t fixed.
And that’s what got Aung San Suu Kyi straight back to work the moment she landed in Rangoon.
At a press conference, yes, she said, it’s great to have seen some releases, but what about the hundreds and hundreds of others? And as she said when picking up her Nobel Peace Prize, “One prisoner of conscience, is one too many.” It’s a speech the BBC has on line. It’s a sentiment we at Amnesty will continue to echo. In simple terms, now is not the time to forget.
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