Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW) is joining a coalition of campaigners urging the UN Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon, to make the release of political prisoners in Burma his personal priority.

The call for urgent action follows the significant impact of the Global Day of Prayer for Burma held in London earlier in the month.

Speaking at the day of prayer was Wai Hnin Pwint Thon, the 20-year-old daughter of Mya Aye, a Burmese political prisoner currently serving a 65 year prison sentence for peacefully protesting against the Burmese military regime.

She told delegates: “Unless the situation in Burma changes, I will never see my father again.”

As part of its Change for Burma! campaign, CSW will also be inviting supporters to sign a new online petition calling for the release of over 2,100 political prisoners.

The target number of signatures set by the Assistance Association of Political Prisoners (Burma) (AAPP) and Forum for Democracy in Burma (FDB) is 888,888. The number symbolises the 8th of August 1988, when the Burma’s military junta massacred thousands of civilians during the country’s largest-ever pro-democracy uprising.

The signatures will be collated and submitted before 24 May, when Burmese democracy leader and Nobel Peace Prize winner Daw Aung San Suu Kyi is due to be released from house arrest.

Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, has spent over thirteen of the last eighteen years under house arrest. Although her party, the National League for Democracy (NLD), won 82 per cent of the seats in the 1990 parliamentary elections, she was prevented from taking her position in government.

At the end of 2008, several hundred democracy campaigners were imprisoned, with many being sentenced to jail terms of 65 years or more.

Benedict Rogers, CSW’s East Asia Team Leader said: “We strongly urge the UN Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon, to make it an immediate personal priority to secure the release of all political prisoners in Burma, including Daw Aung San Suu Kyi.

“This new global petition is particularly timely as we approach the regime’s elections planned for 2010.

“Increased international pressure on Burma’s military regime is urgently needed. Action should be taken to an end to the crimes against humanity committed against Burma’s people every single day.”

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