Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Ban urged to forge ahead with Burma visit

by Salai Pi Pi
18 November 2008

New Delhi (Mizzima) — Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW) yesterday urged UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon to go ahead with his planned trip to Burma next month.

CSW called for the visit of the UN Secretary General to the Southeast Asian nation despite the Burmese regime recently meting out a spate of harsh sentences to over 80 political activists, and continuing human rights violations in eastern Burma.

"We are concerned that he might cancel his visit because of the lack of political development in Burma," Mervyn Thomas, CSW's Chief Executive, told Mizzima by phone.

Last month, Ban Ki-Moon had expressed the possibility that his visit to Burma next month would likely be canceled if there was no prior progress along lines of political reform in the country.

CSW said that the visit of Ban Ki-Moon is essential for addressing the deteriorating human rights condition in Burma, especially since Ban Ki-Moon's Special Envoy to Burma, Ibrahim Gambari, has failed in facilitating change in the country.

"We all know that the visit of UN Envoys in previous years has not been successful. So, this time, the Secretary General himself shall go, with the office's weight behind him, to visit Burma and seek to facilitate change," stressed Thomas.

Meanwhile U Win Tin, a former political prisoner and central committee member of Aung San Suu Kyi's party, National League for Democracy, said the UN Secretary General must visit Burma on his own agenda, not the junta's, in order to solve the political problems in Burma.

"We will welcome him [Ban Ki-Moon] to visit Burma on his own agenda. But, we cannot agree with a program dictated by the junta," U Win Tin told Mizzima.

Recently, over 80 political activists, including a poet, a blogger and several Buddhist monks, have been given harsh sentences in prison. In addition, at least 23 student leaders, including Min Ko Naing and Ko Ko Gyi, have also recently been sentenced to 65 years in jail for their roles in the non-violent struggle for democracy.

Some political activists have since been shifted to camps stationed in remote area of Burma.

CSW called on Ban Ki-Moon to pressure Burma's leaders to release political prisoners and cease military offensives against civilians in eastern Burma.

CSW, in its press release yesterday, mentioned that the Burmese Army continues to launch offensives against villagers in ethnic areas, particularly in eastern Burma. On November 4th, one villager was killed and over 1,971 people were displaced following attacks in Mon Township in western Karen state.

"At least 12 villages have been looted, destroyed and abandoned, rice fields and food stores destroyed, civilians shot at and villagers taken for forced labor," CSW quoted the Free Burma Rangers as saying.

Recent Posts from Burma Wants Freedom and Democracy

Recent posts from WHO is WHO in Burma


The Nuke Light of Myanmar Fan Box
The Nuke Light of Myanmar on Facebook
Promote your Page too