Last week I was fortunate enough to listen-in on a Skype call between Nora Murat - the Director of Amnesty International Malaysia - and Burma’s pre-democracy leader and recently released prisoner of conscience Aung San Suu Kyi.
Thankfully we were able to record the conversation so that we can now share with it you.
For two nights Amnesty International staff across Australia attempted to call and listen-in on Aung San Suu Kyi’s conversation. We were joined in our efforts by youth activists and other long time supporters of human rights from around the Asia Pacific region, but had little success. No one was able to get a connection into Burma.
Restrictions on freedom of information in Burma have long been a concern of Amnesty International. During the recent elections there were severe restrictions on foreign journalists and observers access to the country. Communication infrastructure in Burma is also very limited. It is impossible for us to know whether our failure to connect by phone with Aung San Suu Kyi was as a result of restrictions put in place by the Burmese authorities or as a result of poor infrastructure. Either way it became clear to us as we spent hours trying to get through that the restrictions on these freedoms for the people of Burma are a harsh reality of their daily lives.
Just as we were about to leave the office on that second night I received a text message from Nora which said: 'wait by your Skype now'. I’ve since been told by my colleagues that I let out a sound that was described as one of 'pure excitement' as we dashed to my computer and anxiously waited to connect.
After so much waiting and so many failed attempts the call finally connected and we were able to listen in on a conversation with one of the world’s most inspiring human rights defenders. During the call Aung San Suu Kyi took questions from Amnesty International youth activists - including our own Australian activist Larnie.
The recording quality is not the best, so we have also provided a full transcript of the conversation for you to read.
We hope you enjoy listening as much as we did.
What you can do to help
- ACT NOW: Call on the Burmese authorities to immediately release all prisoners of conscience in the country.
- Burma at a glance, the latest news, feature stories and blogs on Burma following the country's first elections in 20 years, and the subsequent release of Aung San Suu Kyi.