Freedom For Burma

Aung San Suu Kyi.jpgJohn Bolton has warned the military junta ruling Burma (aka Myanmar) that we will be pushing for a security council resolution in the UN soon if changes are not made. From Kyodo News:

John Bolton, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, told the Security Council on Friday that he intends to press for a resolution on Myanmar later this year if the current situation does not change.

“The regime should understand that the Security Council believes that the time has come for the suffering of the Burmese people to end and for democratic change to begin for the benefit of all the Burmese people and peace and stability in the region,” Bolton said in comments before the other council members.

“We intend to work for a Security Council resolution later this year,” he added if the present situation did not change. “As part of this effort, we will consult fully with other members of the council, and hope all of them can support a resolution at an appropriate time.”

Among key concerns are the fact that Myanmar’s pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi, also a Nobel Peace Prize laureate and leader of the opposition National League for Democracy, has spent 10 of the last 17 years in confinement and has been held under house arrest since May 2003.

Although the NLD won the 1990 general election by a landslide, it was blocked by the military junta from taking power.

“Eyewitnesses to the tragedy in Burma and other experts painted a grim picture,” he said, noting that the country has one of the most severe HIV/AIDS epidemics in Asia and that there are forced relocations and conflicts with ethnic minority groups.

Moreover, there are labor practice violations, human trafficking problems, as well as drug issues, and the continued detention of large numbers of political prisoners, the U.S. envoy said.

The Military Junta government (AKA SLORC /SPDC) is also ramping up their military might, and has positioned forces on the border with Thailand, where the recent military coup occurred. The effect of the coup on the millions of Burmese/Karen refugees living just inside the borders of Thailand is unknown at present.

The Junta promised to create a new constitution, but it doesn’t take a decade to write one. They are also complaining regarding the UN deeming them a “threat to security” recently, as noted in this Reuter’s article.

Following a push by the United States and Britain, a divided Security Council voted September 15 to add military-ruled Myanmar — formerly known as Burma — to its formal agenda on grounds it threatened international peace and security.

More at Free Burma.

Within a system which denies the existence of basic human rights, fear tends to be the order of the day…A most insidious form of fear is that which masquerades as common sense or even wisdom, condemning as foolish, reckless, insignficant, or futile the small, daily acts of courage which help to preserve man’s self-respect and inherent human dignity.-Aung San Suu Kyi 

While they recently released one political prisoner, they imprisoned three others. More from Kyodo news:

The party of Myanmar’s opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi Friday called for the immediate release of three prominent student activists arrested earlier this week, according to a party statement late Friday.

Min Ko Naing, Ko Ko Gyi and Htay Kywe, the three supporters of Suu Kyi, in their early 40s, were picked up at their homes buy authorities Wednesday — the 18th founding anniversary day of Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy party, and were reportedly under questioning.

“We demand that the three student leaders who have been arbitrarily arrested be released immediately,” the statement said.

The arrest of Min Ko Naing, Ko Ko Gyi and Htay Kywe was inappropriate and against the government’s democratic process, the statement added.

The three activists played a key role in 1988 popular uprising against the military rule, and had served lengthy prison terms following the crack down on their movements.

They were released during late 2004 and early 2005 separately after serving 10 to 15 years sentences.

The three, together with other student leaders, launched pro-democracy campaigns soon after their releases from prison.