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Human Rights Groups Mark Aung San Suu Kyi's Birthday


Burmese democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi is spending her 61st birthday under house arrest despite calls from the international community for her release.

The Nobel Peace Prize Laureate has been under house arrest for much of the past 16 years. Burma's military government recently extended her confinement order until mid-2007, saying she remains a threat to the state.

Human rights groups in recent days have announced plans to hold demonstrations to draw international attention to Aung San Suu Kyi's plight and demand her freedom in recognition of her birthday today-Monday.

On Saturday, a group of Nobel Peace Prize winners issued a formal declaration of solidarity with fellow laureate Aung San Suu Kyi saying they stand alongside the Burmese pro-democracy advocate.

The U.S. Campaign for Burma says it is organizing demonstrations in over 270 locations throughout the United States, and in 13 other countries. It says it plans to use the events to press the United Nations Security Council to adopt a resolution on
Burma.

Another rights group, the International Federation for Human Rights, sent an open letter to the Security Council Friday urging it to condemn Aung San Suu Kyi's detention.

Her pro-democracy party, the National League for Democracy, won elections by a landslide in 1990, but was not allowed by the military to assume power. Since then, Burma's military government has promised democratic reforms, but there have
been few signs of progress.

Officials of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations recently said Burma's refusal to reform is damaging the organization's credibility and image.

Information for this report is provided by AFP and Reuters.

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