Human Rights Organization Calls on UN to Intensify Efforts for Change in Burma
By Jeremy Reynalds
Correspondent for ASSIST News Service
2/16/09 Burma (ANS) Following a fact-finding visit to the Thai-Burmese border, a British-based human rights organization is urging the UN Secretary-General to ramp up efforts to facilitate meaningful dialogue between Burma’s military regime, the democracy movement and ethnic nationalities.
During the visit, Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW) said in a news release that the organization obtained yet more evidence of continuing human rights violations in Burma. As a result, it is now calling on the international community to increase pressure on the military regime.
During the three-week visit, CSW visited refugees and Internally Displaced People in Karen State, and heard first-hand testimony from victims of forced labor and forced relocation. One man told CSW how his leg had been blown off. He said the incident occurred when he stepped on a landmine laid outside his home by troops from the Democratic Karen Buddhist Army (DKBA), an armed militia working with the Burma Army.
CSW said the DKBA had also burned down his home. He then walked for two days through the jungle, on crutches, to an IDP camp on the Thai-Burmese border. He told CSW, “I really want all the people of Burma to have peace and freedom. If there is no peace and freedom, I cannot go home.”
CSW’s East Asia Team Leader, Benedict Rogers, who led the delegation, said in the news release, “During this visit we heard yet more evidence of the regime’s brutal suppression of its people and callous disregard for human dignity and human life. Over the past two decades, CSW has visited the Thai-Burmese border many times, and each time the stories we have heard have been painfully consistent. The regime is guilty of every possible human rights violation, amounting to crimes against humanity, and it is time to bring the generals to account.”
Rogers added, “Every effort must be made this year to call a halt to the policies of oppression, ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity, and bring the junta into a meaningful dialogue with the democracy movement and the ethnic nationalities. No credibility should be given to the regime’s planned elections in 2010, which will simply be rigged in the same way the referendum on a new constitution was blatantly rigged last year. Instead, pressure should be intensified on the regime to pave the way for a fully inclusive, free and fair democratic process.”
CSW is a human rights organization which advocates on behalf of those persecuted for their Christian beliefs, and promotes universal religious liberty.
For further information go to www.csw.org.uk