Friday, August 8, 2008

8888 canada action

Statement from the Burmese Democratic Forces in Canada

August 8, 2008

August 8th marks the 20th anniversary of Burma's largest national democratic uprising. On August 8, 1988 millions of people across Burma peacefully demonstrated against the military dictatorship of General Ne Win, calling for restoration of democracy and human rights in Burma.

The nationwide movement, known as the "8888 Uprising", was brutally repressed by the military. More than 3,000 people were killed (some estimates are as high as 10,000 dead). Doctors and nurses tending the wounded were shot outside Rangoon General Hospital. Bodies of the dead and the injured were secretly cremated in huge numbers. Thousands of families never found out what happened to their loved ones.

The 20th anniversary of 8/8/88 coincides with the start of the Beijing Olympics on 8/8/08. Seven years ago, China's rulers pledged to improve human rights. In exchange, they were given the privilege of holding the Olympic games. They have blatantly broken their commitments. They have intensified their crackdown on human rights activists and others including monks in Tibet and China. They are censoring and blocking websites operated by the Tibetan government-in-exile and rights groups, the Falun Gong spiritual movement, Radio Free Asia, the BBC's Chinese language service, several leading newspapers in Hong Kong and Taiwan and others owned by many human rights groups, including Amnesty International.

China's rulers are tarnishing the image of the Olympic games and betraying its values.

China's rulers are the major supplier of arms and diplomatic support for the military dictatorship in Burma. Along with Russia, they have blocked the UN's binding resolutions and attempts to restore human rights and democracy in Burma. Last September, the world witnessed Burma's military dictators brutally cracking down on peaceful demonstrators led by Buddhist monks. Once again, the Chinese government blocked any concrete action by the UN Security Council They have prevented humanitarian intervention initiatives by the UN Security Council for the May 2 cyclone victims in Burma, which resulted in loss of over 133,000 lives.

The people of Burma have been denied basic human rights by the military dictatorship for the last 46 years. They have suffered long enough. It is time the international community intervened.

We call upon the Government of Canada, the UN, the ASEAN and other international bodies to take the following actions:

1. Demand that Burma's military dictators initiate a genuine time-bound dialogue for national reconciliation and restoration of democracy with Aung San Suu Kyi, whose party won the 1990 election, and with ethnic communities.

2. Demand that the regime release Aung San Suu Kyi and all political prisoners and lift restrictions on political parties so that legitimate stakeholders can begin to prepare for participation in the democratization process.

3. Demand that the regime open the door to international observers to ensure any referendum and election process in Burma is free and fair.

4. Ask the UN Security Council to pass binding resolution on arms embargo.

5. Urge China and Russia not to block the UNSC binding resolutions intended to restore human rights and democracy in Burma.

6. Ask neighboring countries specifically China, Thailand and India to stop supporting the ruthless military regime in Burma.

7. Urge the UN Secretary General to get an agreement for time bound tripartite dialogue to restore human rights and democracy in Burma.

8. Provide support to the Burmese Democracy movements and increase humanitarian aids to the people of Burma, including refugees at the border areas with Thailand, India and Bangladesh.

Contact Person:
Zaw W. Kyaw
Phone: (416) 358-2318

Burmese Students Democratic Organization, National League for Democracy Canada (LA) Canada Branch, International Burmese Monks Organization (Canada), Canadian Campaign for Free Burma, Committee for Restoration of Democracy in Burma