By BosNewsLife Asia Service
RANGOON, BURMA (BosNewsLife)– Christian rights activists marked the 65th birthday of detained Burmese opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi, Saturday, June 19, and her supporters gathered in the country’s main city Rangoon, amid renewed calls for her release from house arrest and an end to military rule.
About 400 of her supporters gathered at one of their houses in Rangoon where they symbolically freed caged birds and lit a birthday cake at their assembly, news reports said.
Rallies for Nobel Laureate’s release were planned in cities around the world, including Washington. United States President Barack Obama and British Foreign Secretary William Hague also called on the military rulers of Burma, also known as Myanmar, to free her.
It comes amid a reported military crackdown against Burma’s ethnic nationalities, among them many Christians. Representatives of the predominantly Karen minority, which has been fighting for more rights and autonomy, have made clear they would accept her as a legitimate leader of the troubled nation, BosNewsLife established in previous investigations.
Britain-based Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW), a rights group investigating the plight of the predominantly Christian Karen people and other minorities, said it has urged the United Nations to investigate the situation.
“In March, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Human Rights in Burma, Tomás Ojea Quintana, recommended a Commission of Inquiry. The recommendation followed his report to the UN Human Rights Council which concluded that the human rights violations perpetrated by the military regime against Burma’s ethnic nationalities may amount to war crimes and crimes against humanity.”
CSW said it has learned that Britain, the Czech Republic, Australia and Slovakia support the initiative. “CSW urges other countries to publicly support the idea.”
Aung San Suu Kyi, has been held under house arrest for almost 15 years in her Rangoon home, a detention UN investigators have reportedly described as “in violation of international law.”
Her party, the National League for Democracy (NLD), won 82 percent of the parliamentary seats in the election in 1990,
but military rulers, a group of generals known as the State Peace and Development Council, rejected the results. The Council “imprisoned the victors and intensified its grip on power with a campaign of violence,” CSW noted.
The NLD is boycotting upcoming elections, planned for later this year, amid concerns they will not be free and fair. CSW also said that the international community should “reject the regime’s sham elections, and to increase pressure on the regime to engage in a meaningful tripartite dialogue with Aung San Suu Kyi, the democracy movement and the ethnic nationalities.”
CSW’s East Asia Team Leader Benedict Rogers said his organization has urged authorities to immediately release all political prisoners, including Aung San Suu Kyi, an end to military offensives against civilians, and an end to violations of religious freedom.”
He said it was crucial that UN Security Council introduces “a universal arms embargo on the regime,” to end the reported ongoing military crackdown on ethnic minorities, including Christians, who investigators say are seen as a threat to the military rulers’ power base.
Thousands of people are believed to have been displaced by the fighting in recent months and several people have been killed.