|24 Oct: UN Day|
Peace activists in South Asia who have been involved with "Visa Free Peaceful South Asia" campaigns and other peace initiatives over the past years, say: "we appeal to the governments of Asian countries to strengthen pro-democracy struggles, stop human rights abuses against social activists and support nuclear disarmament for a peaceful continent."
They call upon the Chinese government for an immediate and unconditional release of the detained Chinese Nobel Peace Prize winner Liu Xiaobo. Liu, 54, is the co-author of Charter 08, a petition calling for democratic reforms in one-party China that has been circulated on the Internet and signed by thousands of people. He was jailed in December 2009 for 11 years for subversion, and the award of the Nobel prize earlier this month provoked furious denunciations from Beijing.
They appeal to the Chinese government to comply with the International Treaty obligations, release Liu, and send a positive message to the world on democracy and human rights. They also appeal to China to support nuclear disarmament.
Similarly in Myanmar (Burma), pro-democracy leader of National League for Democracy, Aung San Suu Kyi, is under arrest despite of winning elections in 1990. She has remained under house arrest in Myanmar for more than 14 out of the past 20 years. Aung San Suu Kyi was the recipient of the Rafto Prize and the Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought in 1990 and the Nobel Peace Prize in 1991. Activists appeal to the government of Myanmar for an unconditional release of the pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi.
The governments of India and Pakistan, should step forward to support strengthening democracy in the areas where communities are facing human rights abuses like those in Kashmir Valley, North-East India, North-West Frontier Province of Pakistan, Chhattisgarh, among others. Both governments should commit themselves to nuclear disarmament, to stop arms race in the sub-continent and to demilitarize its borders. The movement of people between the two nations for trade or personal visits should be made easier, without visa or passport requirements. One of the key human rights crusader in India, Irom Sharmila, who has been fasting since 2000, and is under arrest since then, must be released unconditionally and her appeal heard of abolishing Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) and other such Acts that give unquestioned power to kill to authorities.