Gere calls for release of VJs and Suu Kyi
by Salai Pi Pi
Tuesday, 14 July 2009 00:37
New Delhi (Mizzima) – Hollywood actor Richard Gere has called on the United Nations to increase pressure on the Burmese military regime to release five detained Burmese Video Journalists (VJs) and other political prisoners, including Nobel Peace Laureate Aung San Suu Kyi.
Actor and humanitarian Richard Gere joined ‘Free the VJs’, a worldwide campaign launched by a United Kingdom-based human rights group known as The Co-operative, urging UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to pressure Burma’s junta to free five detained VJs along with 2,100 other political prisoners.
“It is important that we keep ourselves connected by engaging human rights issues around the globe and insisting that our government representatives, business leaders and institutions like the UN do something when rights are violated,” Gere said in The Co-operative’s July 9 press release.
He continued, “If we keep ourselves connected, together we can really make a difference. Tell a friend and help free the VJs and Aung San Suu Kyi.”
Gere also invited people to view Burma VJ, which, with the assistance of The Co-operative, is set to premiere at 40 cinemas across the UK on Tuesday.
“I am very happy to invite you all to 40 screenings all over Great Britain of a truly incredible, very moving and very important film.” Gere said in a video message. The film is about Burmese VJs and activists who risked torture, imprisonment and even death to document the story of Burmese Buddhist monks leading protests in September 2007. Some of whom have since been sentenced up to 65 years in prison for simply recording the events.
“I don’t think I would be lying to say that this kind of premiere…very clearly illustrates the ability of a very brutal government to only successfully control images to a certain point,” Gere commented on Burma VJ.
“This is an incredible documentary…It is desperately important to see and to get involved in the movement to help Burma right now,” he added.
Burma VJ is composed of footage recorded in 2007 and 2008 by the Oslo-based Burmese media group Democratic Voice of Burma (DVB) and other activists, including Htin Kyaw, Su Su Nway, Ohn Than, Si Thu Maung and Ko Win Maw.
According to The Co-operative, the footage was recorded and disseminated at great personal risk under the extremely tight media control of the military regime.