Statement by the All Burma Monks’ Alliance

Burmanet News, June 18, 2008

Rangoon, Burma -- UN Security Council and the Council of the European Union Should Take Responsibility to Protect the People of Burma When They Meet on June 19 in New York and Brussels, on the 63rd Birthday of the Imprisoned Nobel Peace Prize Recipient Daw Aung San Suu Kyi

(1) On June 19, 2008, Daw Aung San Suu Kyi will again have to spend her 63rd birthday in detention alone. She and her party members were attacked by thousands of civilian militias, organized and supported by the Burmese military junta, on the night of May 30, 2003, at nearby Depayin Township in central Burma.

Although she escaped from the assassination attempt, scores of her party members were brutally killed, and she was arrested by the military junta, along with U Tin Oo, Vice Chairman of the National League for Democracy, and put in detention since then. Recently, on May 27, 2008, the military junta extended her detention again for the
sixth year. We wish her all the best and thank her for her leadership and her unity with the people of Burma. Even though the junta tries to isolate her from us, she is always with us. However the junta tries to undermine her, she is still the leader of Burma’s democracy movement. Any political solution without her involvement will be meaningless and unsustainable.

(2) On her birthday, June 19, 2008, the UN Security Council will hold a debate on women, peace and security. U.S. Secretary of State Dr. Condoleezza Rice will chair the debate, as the United States holds the Presidency of the UN Security Council for June 2008. The debate will focus
on UNSC Resolution 1325, which was passed unanimously on 31 October 2000.

We would like to request Secretary Rice and other members of the Council to pay attention to the plight of women in Burma. Among the over two thousands political prisoners in Burma, at least 154 are women activists.

Burmese military troops are raping with impunity ethnic women and girls, some as young as eight years old. In the frontier areas, the Burmese military uses women as porters during the day and sex slaves at nights. Among the 2.5 million populations who were severely affected by the Cyclone Nargis and ignored by the junta, at least 50% are women and among them are over 35,000 extremely vulnerable pregnant women. We call for the UN Security Council to take effective action to stop the humanitarian crises in Burma, created by the Burmese military junta.

(3) Also on June 19th, 27 Heads of State from the Council of the European Union will meet in Brussels and discuss the EU’s role in international affairs. We would like to call for leaders of European Union to continue to assist Burma’s democracy movement led by detained leader  Daw Aung San Suu Kyi. The Burmese military junta has used the devastated situation of the people of Burma after the attack of Cyclone Nargis to consolidate its grip on power, and to exploit the generosity of the international community for its own benefit. The actions of the junta leave millions of people to die from starvation and infectious diseases in the delta region,
while blocking relief efforts and assistance offered by the international community. We request the EU to bring Than Shwe, leader of Burmese military junta, before the International Criminal Court to be tried for his crimes against humanity, as recommended by the European Parliament.

(4) Some international actors assume that this is the time to save the lives, not to talk about the politics. Some even think that any harsh words or actions against the generals will jeopardize their humanitarian effort. This is totally wrong, morally, principally and practically. The Burmese military junta and their policies are responsible for all bad things happening in Burma, all the crises overloading the shoulders of the people of Burma. UN Human Rights Commissioner Ms. Louise Arbor said on June 2, 2008 “in the case of Myanmar, the obstruction to the deployment of such assistance illustrates the invidious effects of long-standing international tolerance for human rights violations that made such obstruction possible.”

She is exactly right. Long-standing tolerance by the international community of human rights violations in Burma made the Burmese military junta believe that they have a license to kill and they have nothing to fear. This is the time for the international community to stand up and protect the people of Burma, by applying unanimous and maximum pressure against the Burmese military, including a global arms embargo and coordinated financial and banking sanctions against the generals, their families and their crony businessmen.