Myanmar: Joint Statement Supporting Human Rights Defenders in Burma
Human rights organizations from around the world are concerned for the safety and freedom of human rights activists within Burma following the brutal crackdown on peaceful protestors last week. The fate of Aung San Suu Kyi, Nobel Peace Prize winner and leader of the legitimately elected government of Burma, also remains a source of concern, as she remains deprived of her liberty and the enjoyment of her basic rights.
Protests under the junta’s repressive regime are extremely rare, and the military has responded with brutal crackdowns in the past. Following the outbreak of peaceful pro-democracy protests on August 8, 1988, the military killed an estimated 3,000 people. Its propensity toward violence, particularly against democracy activists, members of Burma’s ethnic nationality groups, and women, has been extensively documented by international and local NGOs alike, and includes extrajudicial execution, rape, forced labor, forced displacement and torture.
The international community must state in unequivocal terms that it will not tolerate further violence from the military. It is also critical that China use its strong relationship with the military regime to urge calm, demand respect for human rights, and urge the military to commence the long-overdue process of democratization. Finally, ASEAN countries should exercise their influence over Burma’s junta and continue to call for a peaceful resolution to the protests.
The following human rights organizations call on the Burmese junta to stop using violence against peaceful protestors, to release all of the more than 1000 political prisoners, including Nobel Peace Prize winner Aung San Suu Kyi, to protect the rights of the men and women who promote human rights within Burma and to enter into a genuine dialogue with the opposition and ethnic minorities:
Women Living Under Muslim Laws (WLUML)
Center for Women's Global Leadership (CWGL)
International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH)
Frontline - Protection of Human Rights Defenders
Human Rights First
OMCT - World Organisation Against Torture
Urgent Action Fund (UAF)