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Petaling Jaya, Malaysia – Amnesty International Malaysia launched a teleconference with Burma's pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi at the Amnesty International Malaysia office on the night of November 24, 2010.

Previously, on November 23, Amnesty International Malaysia, with a dozen young representatives of Southeast Asian countries including the Amnesty International Malaysia Youth Network, together with Amnesty International Australia online connected to over 300 young people, waited in high anticipation to talk to Suu Kyi. However they were unable to connect with her despite trying for more than an hour.

Amnesty International Malaysia together with Amnesty International Australia tried to contact Suu Kyi again on the night of November 24 and this attempt met with success.  Suu Kyi gave a telephone interview for 6 minutes.

Nora Murat, Executive Director, Amnesty International Malaysia, was the interviewer for this teleconference. She collected questions for Suu Kyi from youth activists from Southeast Asia, including Malaysia, the Philippines, New Zealand and Australia.

Suu Kyi answered five questions from young people, including a question from Faisal Aziz, a youth member of Amnesty International Malaysia, who asked how young people can continue working on Burma and who should be the target of their action.

“At the moment the first thing, young friends, what we would like you to do is to try to do everything we can to bring about the release of the remaining 2,200 political prisoner in Burma. Some of them are young people like yourselves; some are not more than 20 years old and yet they have been given long prison sentences.” said Suu Kyi.

“The first thing that we would like to do is to increase awareness of the situation of political prisoners in Burma.”

The last question from Nora asked which regional government is the most important for young people to lobby in order to put political pressure on the Burmese authorities to meet basic human right standards.

“We need all the ASEAN countries to work in coordination.” said Suu Kyi. “What I would like to see is those countries united to help us in Burma.”

The opposition leader swept the National League for Democracy Party (NLD) to victory in the 1990 elections but the results were never recognized by the junta. Her party's decision to boycott this month's election left the opposition deeply divided.

Aung San Suu Kyi won the Nobel Peace Prize during her house arrest; her sons collected her prize on her behalf in 1991.

Suu Kyi has spent 15 of the past 21 years under house arrest in her crumbling lakeside house in Yangon, with the junta repeatedly finding new excuses for extending her detention, after brief periods of freedom.

(Pong Pan is a correspondent for the online newspaper Prachatai. He is currently on a fellowship with the Southeast Asian Center for e-Media in Malaysia.)

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