Keys to Freedom

June 21, 2011

Keys inscribed by activists to encourage the release of the more than 2,000 political prisoners in Myanmar.

By Ulana Moroz Senenko, Individuals at Risk Campaigner for Asia

Last November, Amnesty International welcomed the release of Nobel Peace Prize laureate Aung San Suu Kyi from detention. Although her release was certainly a reason to celebrate, more than 2,000 political prisoners remain behind bars in Myanmar.

In honor of Suu Kyi’s 66th birthday, Amnesty International activists around the world signed thousands of keys urging the authorities to unlock the prison doors and free all prisoners of conscience immediately and unconditionally.

Members of Amnesty International Group 159 in Arlington, VA delivered these keys last Friday to the Myanmar embassy staff in Washington DC. The keys were presented adhered to a paper scroll more than 50 feet long. This dramatic visual advocated for those whose rights have been denied as a result of their peaceful activism. In accepting the keys, the authorities are forced to acknowledge those who are unjustly imprisoned in Myanmar.

Those unjustly imprisoned suffer from lack of medical care, proper nutrition, and lack of contact with their families. Many are imprisoned hundreds of miles from their homes, making travel for their families difficult if not impossible. What better way to honor Aung San Suu Kyi’s birthday, than to continue to work for the freedom of all prisoners of conscience in Myanmar!

Take action: Call on the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) to exercise its influence and press Myanmar’s authorities to release all prisoners of conscience.