Peace Boat by Reuters
The Peace Boat with a banner reading “Happy Birthday Aung San Suu Kyi” docks at a harbour in Singapore June 19, 2007. The boat was carrying members from the Global Partnership For The Prevention of Armed Conflict (GPPAC) who were commemorating the Myanmar democracy leader’s birthday on Tuesday in Singapore. REUTERS/Nicky Loh (SINGAPORE)

Banner on Peace Boat by Reuters
A man looks at the Peace Boat with a banner reading “Happy Birthday Aung San Suu Kyi” at a harbour in Singapore June 19, 2007. The boat was carrying members from the Global Partnership For The Prevention of Armed Conflict (GPPAC) who were commemorating the Myanmar democracy leader’s birthday on Tuesday in Singapore. REUTERS/Nicky Loh (SINGAPORE)

Aung San Suu Kyi’s birthday marked by calls for release, AFP, 19 June 2007

Activists on Tuesday marked the 62nd birthday of Myanmar democracy icon Aung San Suu Kyi by calling for her immediate release.

The Global Partnership for the Prevention of Armed Conflict, a network of civil society groups, said it has submitted a petition to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) seeking Aung San Suu Kyi’s freedom.

Military-ruled Myanmar is a member of ASEAN along with Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.

ASEAN’s more developed states have urged Myanmar to release the Nobel laureate and push through with promised democratic reforms, saying its refusal to do so has damaged the regional bloc’s international image.

The United States, European Union and rights groups have accused Myanmar’s ruling junta of political repression and massive human rights abuses.

The petition was read out in Singapore, where activists unfurled a 30 metre (100-foot) long banner with the words, “Happy Birthday Aung San Suu Kyi!”

“Her release is so important. The whole country look up to her and she is the one who really inspires the country,” said Khin Ohmar, a Myanmar activist who has been in exile for 18 years.

Aung San Suu Kyi has spent more than 11 of the last 18 years in various forms of detention.

Her party, National League for Democracy, won a landslide victory in 1990 elections but the junta never allowed it to take office.

The military government, which has ruled Myanmar since 1962, extended Aung San Suu Kyi’s house arrest by another year in May.