Written by U Ne Oo on 1995-06-19
(This Petition Campaign was held to celebrate the 50th birthday of Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, Burma's Nobel Peace Prize Laureate and the General Secretary of the National League for Democracy, who was under house arrest at that time.)
BACKGROUND INFORMATION ON HUMAN RIGHTS SITUATION IN BURMA
Burma(sometime called Myanmar) has a population of 43 million with a complex mix of a Burman majority and ethnic minorities. The whole country has been under a military dictatorship of one form or another since 1962. After the brutal crackdown on a nationwide prodemocracy movement in 1988, Burma's military authorities promised a free election and transfer of power to civilian government.
The promised election was helion was held in 27 May 1990 and the Opposition party, National League for Democracy (NLD), won 80per cent of the seats. The military then refused to transfer power and said that the representatives were elected not to govern, but to draw up a new constitution. This announcement by military authorities was followed by series of crackdown on political dissent on population, including the elected representatives. Many ordinary people who voiced their dissent to government were dismissed or demoted from their their jobs or jailed. Up until now, there has been no sign of transfer or power to the elected civilian government by the military authorities.
DETENTION OF NOBEL PEACE LAUREATE DAW AUNG SAN SUU KYI
Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, the founder and leader of National League for Democracy, been under house arrest since July 20, 1989. The National League for Democracy decisively won the May 1990 election despite the detention of its leader. Aung San Suu Kyi was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1991 for he for her non-violent opposition to the ruling military junta, the State Law and Order Restoration Council (SLORC).
CEASE-FIRE AND PEACE SETTLEMENTS
Burma has a complex mix of indigenous nationalities, though the majority is Burman. The ethnic minorities have been waging war against the central government since 1948 for greater autonomy from majority Burmans. The representatives elected at the May 1990 election, fled to ethnic minority areas and with the support of ethnic minority rebels have pls have promoted a future Federal Union for Burma as a solution.
The military government rejected the solution of a federal union for Burma and the ethnic rebels were coerced to sign peace deals without any compromise made on the political issues. The ethnic rebels who insisted political settlement with central government had been suppressed: the Karen National Union, for example, have been driven out from their headquarters in January 1995. This resulted in further outflow of 10,000 refugees into Thaila Thailand. In April, incursions by Burmese government troops onto Thai soil to attack Karen refugees have been reported. There is a major concern about potential destabilization between the two governments and the region. This warrants an international action to initiate a peaceful settlement of conflicts within Burma.
THE INTERNATIONAL ARMS EMBARGO
The present military junta spend 35 per cent of national budget on maintaining the army and build-up of arms. In 1991, the military governmentovernment purchased US$ 1.2 billion worth of arms from China. The government reportedly paid its debt to China with primary products like rice, peas, beans and logs. This has caused further stress on the rural population, which is currently reported to be in a state of extreme poverty. Burma's GDP per capita is $650 and its Human DEvelopment Index (HDI) is 0.406. This extent of poverty can be compared with Vietnam (GDP/capita=$1250, HDI=0.514) and Thailand (GDP/capita=$5270, HDI=0.789). The cThe continuing decline on human security warrants an international action, such as international arms embargo.
For further informations, please contact Dr U Ne Oo, 48/2 Ayliffes RD, ST MARYS 5042 (AUSTRALIA).
A GREATER RESPECT FOR HUMAN RIGHTS IN BURMA
Concerned with the continuing human rights abuses and lack of pragress towards democracy in Burma (Myanmar), we, the undersigned, call upon the Secretary-General of United Nations and United Nations Security Council to:
1. ensure the unconditional release of Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, the 1991 Nobel Peace Laureate and a prisoner of conscience for six years;
2. implement the cease-fire and peace settlements between the ethnic minorities and Burmese army;
3. impose the international arms embargo on Burma.
Please return these formhese forms to Burma Action(South Australia), c/o ADJPC, G.P.O. Box 2602, Adelaide SA 5001. The petitions will be sent to the Secretary General of the United Nations, United Nations New York 10017, United States of America, immediately upon completion. This campaign runs until 20th of July 1995. For detailed information, please see overleaf.