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Imprisoned under house arrest for fifteen years over a twenty-one-year period, from 1989 to 2010, the Burmese pro-democracy leader and human rights activist Aung San Suu Kyi became one of the world’s most prominent political prisoners and the face of the Myanmar opposition movement. In 1991, she was awarded the Nobel Peace “for her non-violent struggle for democracy and human rights.”1 Over the course of her imprisonment, Aung San Suu Kyi was the subject of six WGAD opinions. The author was hired by her family to serve as her international counsel from mid-2006 until her release on November 13, 2010. He worked with Aung San Suu Kyi’s local counsel, U Nyan Win and U Kyi Win, along with countless others globally, to utilize the latter three opinions, in combination with political and public relations advocacy efforts, to advance efforts to secure her freedom and that of other political prisoners from the military junta. Under house arrest, Aung San Suu Kyi was denied access to virtually everyone from the outside world other than her doctor, domestic lawyer, occasional diplomat friendly to the military junta, and Liaison Minister for the then-junta U Aung Kyi.
In its first report to the Commission on Human Rights (UNCHR), the WGAD identified a number of situations involving questions of principle, which required special consideration.1 In its third session, the WGAD decided it would consider such questions and adopt decisions about them (referred to as “deliberations”) not in the abstract but in connection with the consideration of individual cases submitted to it.2 Over its history, the WGAD has adopted nine Deliberations and a commentary on drug policies, which will each be examined in turn.