The Nobel Women's Intiative has demanded the release of Aung Sang Suu Kyi.
Who they are:
The Nobel Women's Initiative was established in 2006 by sister Nobel Peace Laureates Jody Williams, Shirin Ebadi, Wangari Maathai, Rigoberta Menchú Tum, Betty Williams and Mairead Corrigan Maguire. We six women - representing North and South America, Europe, the Middle East and Africa - have decided to bring together our extraordinary experiences in a united effort for peace with justice and equality.
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Women Nobel Peace laureates demand Suu Kyi's release
Women Nobel Peace Prize laureates urged the United Nations on Wednesday to take decisive action to secure the release of Myanmar pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi.
Suu Kyi's fellow female peace prize winners expressed "grave disappointment" that Myanmar's junta has ignored the U.N. call for her release, in a letter published in The Guardian newspaper timed to mark her 12th year of detention.
"The Burmese regime must not be allowed to continue in its perpetration of gross violations of human rights," the letter said. "The detention of Aung San Suu Kyi is the most visible manifestation of the regime's brutality but it is only the tip of the iceberg."
U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon had asked junta leader Senior Gen. Than Shwe on Jan. 8 to release Suu Kyi.
The Burmese opposition leader was awarded the Nobel Peace prize in 1991. She is one of only seven living women to have won — and the only imprisoned Nobel laureate.
The letter released on Wednesday, which is also the 62nd anniversary of the United Nations, was signed by the other six female Nobel Peace laureates: Jody Williams, Shirin Ebadi, Wangari Maathai, Rigoberta Menchu Tum, Betty Williams and Mairead Corrigan Maguire.
The laureates vowed to work together to ensure Myanmar stays high on the international agenda. The military government sent troops to quash peaceful protests, initially led by students and then by Buddhist monks, last month.
"Since Burmese monks courageously took to the streets in September to call for democracy, the Burmese regime has enforced a vicious crackdown on peaceful demonstrators and democratic opposition leaders," the letter said. "Amidst mounting reports of torture and ill treatment, we fear for the safety of the brave people of Burma."
The junta took power in 1988 after crushing the democracy movement led by Suu Kyi. In 1990, it refused to hand over power when Suu Kyi's party won a landslide election victory. She has been in prison or under house arrest for 12 of the last 18 years.
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