Friday, April 11, 2008

New York rally to support Burmese democracy movement

Mizzima News
April 11, 2008

Over one thousand supporters of Burma's opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi and her calls for democracy in Burma are expected to rally today in front of United Nations headquarters in New York.

The rally brings together activists from several human rights and Burmese organizations with the specific aim of urging the release of all political prisoners, inclusive of Nobel Peace Prize winner Aung San Suu Kyi, as well as encouraging a stronger Security Council reaction to the Burmese junta's continued intransigence regarding calls for reform.

Demonstrators are expected from Amnesty International, Burma Point, the International Burmese Monks Organization, Columbia University's Burma 88 Coalition and members of the Burmese exile community.

A statement released today by Columbia University's Burma 88 Coalition in coordination with the upcoming rally sharply criticized permanent United Nations Security Council member China for its persistent and active support of Burma's generals.

"It is appalling that Beijing has chosen to begin the Olympics on August 8, 2008, twenty years to the day after mass demonstrations in Burma led to the slaughter of thousands.

China has a huge influence in Burma, but instead of using its clout to apply pressure on the regime, it continues to finance and provide arms to Burma." Burma activist Geoff Aung, co-founder of the Columbia Burma 88 Coalition, states.

The missive, referring to Secretary General Ban Ki-moon's Special Envoy to Burma Ibrahim Gambari's mission as a failure, demands the Security Council take a stronger stance with respect to its handling of Burma's military rulers.

Regarding the upcoming May 10 constitutional referendum in Burma, the activist group argues that the entire constitutional process is an attempt by the junta to cover-up and divert attention from last year's violent crackdown on the monk-led Saffron Revolution, which resulted in dozens of deaths, prison sentences and arbitrary arrests.

Today's demonstration is part of Amnesty International's Get On The Bus campaign, which is designed to raise awareness on the need for action regarding several regions where human rights are or have been violated. This year's campaign, in addition to Burma, will also focus on Darfur, Sri Lanka, Libya and Bhopal, India.

2008 marks the 13th anniversary of the Get On The Bus event.

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