Friday, October 21, 2011

Burma advocacy and outreach in Canada

Ottawa - Friday, October 21, 2011
A three way partnership between CUPE, Canadian Friends of Burma and CUSO-VSO will sponsor a visit to Canada by two young Burmese leaders. Mi Aie Son works with the Mon Youth Progressive Organization and Aung Naing Soe is the General Secretary of Nationalities Youth Forum. They will visit Ottawa, Toronto and Vancouver over the next 2 weeks and ask for international solidarity and support for their human rights advocacy work.
CUPE’s Global Justice Fund helps finance youth activists in Burma who are asking for:
1. Release of all youth political prisoners along with all other political prisoners. 
2. Stop the oppression of democratic student and youth activists who are seeking freedom and human rights protection. 
3. Stop attacks in the ethnic areas. 
4. Commence an authentic dialogue with Aung San Suu Kyi and promote dialogue with democratic and ethnic forces to stop the root causes of current problems.
Recent amnesties released only 200 political prisoners - most were about to be released. There are still over 2000 political prisoners in Burmese prisons living under extremely inhumane conditions. The 'so-called civilian' government is simply using them as hostages, readily available for bargaining when the pressure from the international community becomes high. Growing up in Burma today leaves young Burmese subjected to human rights violations, especially in the armed conflict areas where there are increasing attacks by the Burmese army on ethnic armed groups.
CUPE, CUSO-VSO and CFOB will launch a postcard campaign next week to increase pressure on the Burmese regime to release all political prisoners. They will visit with the Parliamentary Friends of Burma, DFAIT, NGOs, Human Rights groups, Universities and Youth groups in Ottawa and Toronto before participating in the CUPE National Convention in Vancouver.
Sam, a Canadian volunteer with CUSO-VSO working along the Thai-Burma border, states: "In Burma, large-scale infrastructure development projects lead to increased militarization and concomitant human rights abuses while generating massive revenues for the military government. The Shwe Gas and Burma-China Pipelines project was forced ahead without the free, prior and informed consent of local communities, and people have been beaten and arrested for voicing opposition to the project. Without democratic political reform and genuine negotiations with Ethnic Nationalities, this kind of infrastructure development in Burma must be considered destructive development."

Ms Son and Mr. Soe will speak at these public presentations:
·         Tuesday, Oct. 25th, 6:30 pm, Ottawa Main Library on 120 Metcalfe St., Ottawa
·         Wednesday, Oct. 26th, 6:30 pm, Ryerson University, Jorgenson Hall Centre Hub 152, 350 Victoria St., Toronto
·         Sunday, Oct. 30th, 2-4pm Meet and Greet, CUSO-VSO office, 1460 Howe St., Vancouver
Light refreshments will be served.

Marian White, CUSO-VSO - Cell – (902) 393-4550      
Tin Htoo Maung, Canadian Friends of Burma - Cell - (613) 297-6835      

Organized by CUSO-VSO, CUPE (Canadian Union of Public Employees), CFOB (Canadian Friends of Burma).

Download events poster -
Download campaign poster -

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