The Burmese military junta's decision to continue the detention of democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi is deplorable and deserves the full condemnation of the international community. A clear message must be sent that Aung San Suu Kyi and all other prisoners of conscience in Burma must be released, immediately and unconditionally.
At this time of extreme devastation caused by Cyclone Nargis, with at 78,000 people killed and more than 56,000 missing, the Burmese people desperately need legitimate leadership. Instead, the ruling regime has hampered and blocked international humanitarian relief efforts to the most affected areas.
Aung San Suu Kyi is inspiring the world in her fight for the freedom of her people. She has seen her supporters beaten, tortured, and killed but she has never responded to hatred and violence in kind. All she has ever asked for is peaceful dialogue.
I am proud the U.S. Congress passed and the President recently signed into law a resolution awarding the Congressional Gold Medal to Aung San Suu Kyi for 'her courageous and unwavering commitment to peace, nonviolence, human rights, and democracy in Burma.' Let there be no doubt that we stand together with Aung San Suu Kyi and the freedom-seeking people of Burma in their just cause.