Amnesty International USA (AIUSA) held its Annual General Meeting (AGM) on March 18-20, 2011 in San Francisco. Aside from the typical AGM fanfare of plenaries and sessions, it was also a celebration of Amnesty International’s 50th anniversary.
The first evening was kicked off with a bang through a musical celebration to honor Joan Baez for her lifelong activism in human rights and her work to establish Amnesty International on the West Coast of the US. The celebration came alive when AIUSA presented her the Joan Baez Award for Outstanding, Inspirational Service in the Global Fight for Human Rights.
The Amnesty International Club at Vashon High School in Vashon Island, Washington held a telephone conference with Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Aung San Suu Kyi on December 10, 2010. Aung San Suu Kyi was released on November 13, 2010 after spending more than 15 of the past 21 years under house arrest and is now able to communicate with people from around the world.
The telephone conference was organized by Alix Clarke along with students Brooke Kipling and Emma Lodes. Teacher Harris Levinson helped the students pose questions to Aung San Suu Kyi. The group in attendance felt very honored to be able to ask her questions and hear her brilliant and insightful answers.
13 November 2010
Myanmar should free all prisoners of conscience
following Aung San Suu Kyi’s release
Amnesty International today welcomes the release of Aung San Suu Kyi, but calls on the government of Myanmar to immediately release all of the prisoners of conscience in the country.
Aung San Suu Kyi, Myanmar’s best-known prisoner of conscience, has spent more than 15 of the past 21 years under house arrest. She was one of more than 2,200 political prisoners, including prisoners of conscience, currently being held in deplorable conditions for simply exercising their right to peaceful protest.
“While Daw Aung San Suu Kyi’s release is certainly welcome, it only marks the end of an unfair sentence that was illegally extended, and is by no means a concession on the part of the authorities”, said Amnesty International’s Secretary General, Salil Shetty. “The fact remains that authorities should never have arrested her or the many other prisoners of conscience in Myanmar in the first place, locking them out of the political process”.
Myanmar’s military junta extended Nobel Peace laureate and pro-democracy leader Daw Aung San Suu Kyi’s imprisonment by 18 months today after finding her guilty of violating the terms of her house arrest.
Critics of Myanmar’s military regime condemned the outcome of the 3-month sham trial, calling it a pretext to keep Aung San Suu Kyi out of the running during next year’s presidential elections.
The junta — which currently detains more than 2,100 political prisoners — commuted the sentence from three years hard labor in prison to an 18-month extension of house arrest in the hopes that the international community will view the reduced sentence as an act of leniency.
But Aung San Suu Kyi should have never been imprisoned in the first place.
Aung San Suu Kyi faced her oppressors last week on charges that could land her in jail for five years. The trial came just days before she was set to be released from house arrest. Her life is on the line. Her health is at risk, and five years of torture and abuse at the infamous Insein prison could spell disaster.
Amnesty International rapid response to these developments started 2 weeks ago in Australia (a member of ASEAN) when the Amnesty section over there mobilized and generated over 7,000 letters to ASEAN. Since then, the chairman of ASEAN called on Myanmar to release Aung San Suu Kyi.