Stars urge U.N.'s Ban to help Myanmar's Suu Kyi
More than 25 celebrities including actors Jim Carrey, Dustin Hoffman and Robin Williams on Thursday urged the United Nations to help win freedom for Myanmar democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi.
The stars signed a letter calling on U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to intervene personally to win immediate freedom for the Nobel laureate, who has spent most of the past 17 years in prison or under house arrest in military-ruled former Burma.
"Aung San Suu Kyi is not just a charismatic leader, she is the elected leader of the Burmese people," said the letter, whose signatories also included actors Owen Wilson, Susan Sarandon and Jennifer Aniston as well as Irish singer Damien Rice. Rice is a long-time supporter of Suu Kyi.
"This courageous, brave woman whom many call 'Burma's Nelson Mandela' should be released and the military regime should end its attacks on civilians," the letter said.
The celebrity letter campaign was spearheaded by the Human Rights Action Center and the U.S. Campaign for Burma, both based in Washington.
Intensifying repression in the impoverished Southeast Asian state has also drawn the attention of U.S. first lady Laura Bush, who personally telephoned the U.N. secretary-general last week to express concerns about a crackdown on dissidents.
On Tuesday, Bush told a small group of reporters in an interview at the White House that she hoped to raise Myanmar's profile at the U.N. General Assembly later this month.