TODAY -

Burmese stage protest rally for 2100 political prisoners in New Delhi
- Burma Centre Delhi (BCD) -

New Delhi, August 07, 2011:



Dear Friends,

Coming 8th August 2011 is the 23rd Anniversary of the Nationwide Popular Pro-Democracy Protests in Burma known as “8888 Uprising”.

The 8888 uprising was started by students in Rangoon on August 8, 1988. Student protests spread throughout the country. Hundreds of thousands of people from all walks of life, including young school children, demonstrated against the regime and demanded to stop one-party authoritarian state and reform to multi-party democracy government.

The regime responded by military killings on un-armed peaceful demonstrators. Thousands of deaths and displacement have been attributed to the brutal military crack down during this uprising with more than 3000 people killed and about 2 lakhs of people displaced.

During the crisis, Daw Aung San Suu Kyi emerged as a national icon. When the military junta arranged general elections, her party, the National League for Democracy (NLD), won 80% (392 out of 485) of the seats in the government. However, the military junta refused to recognize the results and placed Daw Aung San Suu Kyi under house arrest.

Today, military controlled government still rules in Burma with civilian cloths. More than 2100 political prisoners including 8888 generation student leaders are being detained under harsh condition in different jails throughout the country, even though Daw Aung San Suu Kyi has been released on 13th November last year.

To commemorate the 23rd Anniversary of the popular 8888 Uprising in Burma and to demand the release of all political prisoners, including the 8888 generation students leaders who have been sentenced for 65 years imprisonment, India-based Burmese democracy activists will stage a mass protest rally in Delhi as per the schedule mentioned below.

Kindly send your reporter and photographer to cover the event.

Thank you.

India-based Burmese democracy activists

Schedule

Date: 8th August 2011 (Monday)
Time: 11:00 a.m.
Venue: Jantar Mantar, New Delhi

Burma Centre Delhi (BCD)
WZ 110-A, (1st Fl), Bodela,
Vikas Puri, New Delhi -110018, India
Ph: (O) +91-11-45660619
office@burmacentredelhi.org
www.burmacentredelhi.org


BACKGROUNDER ON BURMA AND PEOPLES STRUGGLE FOR DEMOCRACY

Burma is the second largest country in Southeast Asia with an area of 676,500 square kilometers. The country has a population of over 50 million. Burma was once the richest country in Asia and is now considered one of the poorest.

Burma is a country where the people have been under military regime for the past 49 years - since 1962. The Military government is one of the most repressive in the world and is listed as one with the worst human rights violations in the world. Everyday innocent people are tortured, arrested and killed. They are killed when they ask to be paid for their labour, when they try to exercise freedom of speech and movements. One member in every family is compelled to provide forced labour for any work undertaken by the military government, whether it is construction of roads, railways, government buildings or pottering for the armies as they move around from one village to another village. Thousand have died while working and thousands of women have been raped during forced labour. .

In 1974, the military regime transformed itself into a ruling political party, Burmese Socialist Programme Party (BSPP), and announced the "Burmese Way to Socialism". In these 14 years of socialist regime, Burma, once known as "Rice Bowl of Asia", became one of the poorest countries of the world. In 1987 Burma was listed as a Least Developed Country (LDC) by the United Nations

In Burma natural disaster became man-made tragedy when the military regime refused entry of international aid for the millions of Cyclone Nargis victims. It is a country that compelled peace loving harmless Buddhist monks to come out on the streets to urge the Military government to reform the country’s economy and political system. It is the only country in the world where Nobel Peace Laureate (Aung San Suu Kyi) was put to house-arrest for 12 years and was released only on 13 November 2010.

Burma erupted in political turmoil when the government adopted desperate measures in 1987 to cope with a deteriorating economy. The 8888 uprising was started by students in Rangoon on August 8, 1988. At 8 minutes past 8 o'clock on the morning of the auspicious date of 8.8.88, the huge demonstrations began in Burma's cities and towns and villages. The people’s movement spearheaded by students witnessed the participation of all and sundry-workers, monks, peasants, teachers, government servants and the youth demanding political and economic changes in Burma. Student protests spread throughout the country and demonstrations continued for weeks. The military responded by opening fire on the peaceful demonstrators. On August 3, the authorities imposed martial law from 8 pm to 4 am and a ban on gatherings of more than five people.

It is estimated that in the five days from August 8 to 12, more than 3,000 demonstrators were shot and killed throughout the country.

The uprising ended on September 18, after a bloody military coup by the State Law and Order Restoration Council (SLORC). Thousands of deaths and displacements on innocent lives have been attributed to the military during this uprising.

During the crisis, Aung San Suu Kyi emerged as a national icon. When the military junta arranged an election in 1990, her party, the National League for Democracy, won 80% of the seats in the government. However, the military junta refused to recognize the results and placed Aung San Suu Kyi under house arrest.

General elections were held in Burma on 7 November 2010 in twenty years. The 2010 Elections were held based on the 2008 Constitution which set series of laws including several discriminatory provisions that unreasonably restricted the right of citizens to stand for election or to actively participate in political party affairs. The main opposition party National League for Democracy, headed by Daw Aung San Suu Kyi boycotted the elections because of the flawed constitution and the unfair election laws and Suu Kyi herself was under house arrest during the elections.

The election was held amid tight security and Independent local observers reported that there was "widespread voter intimidation and bribery" in the elections. The military-aligned political party, the Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP), declared victory. However, the United Nations and Western countries have condemned the elections as fraudulent. UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon claimed voting conditions had been "insufficiently inclusive, participatory and transparent."

The elections of 2010 were held to provide a fig leaf for the continuing suppression of all democratic rights and fundamental freedom of the Burmese people. Political repression continues unabated and currently more than 2000 political prisoners are still detained in Burma’s jail. They continue to be deprived of basic human rights under current President U Thein Sein, such as a denial of basic medical care, unsanitary prison conditions, the use of excessive force by state authorities, and sham trials that make no pretense of legality. The Burmese government has demonstrated a remarkable unwillingness to make improvements in its human rights record or to be coherent about its announced transition towards a democratic government.




* This Press Release was sent by Burma Centre Delhi (BCD)
The sender can be contacted at burmacentredelhi(at)gmail(dot)com
This PR was webcasted on August 07 2011 .


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