Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Another black day for human rights.

It is indeed another dark day for human rights, as the junta in Burma crackdown on the protesting monks and their supporters. Follow BBC for up to date coverage events there. BBC reports that:

Hospital sources in Rangoon told the BBC that at least one monk had been killed and that two others were in intensive care.

The monks were beaten with the back of rifles. Taxi drivers are transporting the injured to nearby medical facilities, said the source, speaking on condition of anonymity.

Other reports differ on the number killed with a monastery official telling Reuters news agency two monks had died while Burmese officials told AFP three monks had been killed.

Analysts fear a repeat of the violence in 1988, when troops opened fire on unarmed protesters, killing thousands.
The United Nations Security Council reportedly has called for the junta to show restraint, as well as for a UN special envoy to be allowed into Burma. However,

But China's UN ambassador, Wang Guangya, said that sanctions against Burma's military rulers would not be "helpful".

China and Russia have argued that the situation in Burma is a purely internal matter. Both vetoed a UN resolution critical of Burma's rulers last January.

Experts say the hope remains that China - a permanent member of the council and a key importer of Burmese energy resources - may use its powerful influence behind the scenes to persuade the regime to show restraint.
Amnesty International has called for the UNSC to send an urgent mission to Burma.
The UN Security Council mission should take urgent steps to resolve the human rights crisis in Myanmar and avert the risk of violence and bloodshed. The mission should also discuss with the Myanmar authorities how to resolve the long-standing human rights problems in the country including the detention of Aung San Suu Kyi and other political prisoners.

Amnesty International has documented Myanmar's appalling human rights record. More than 1,160 political prisoners are held in deteriorating prison conditions. Child soldiers and forced labour continue to be used. The use of torture and other cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment are common, especially during interrogation and pre-trial detention.

Myanmar is now witnessing mass demonstrations comparable in scale to those in 1988, when security forces broke up massive pro-democracy demonstrations with deadly violence killing thousands.

"The high risk of a crackdown against the demonstrators makes it imperative for the international community to act urgently. The military government in Myanmar must be told in no uncertain terms that there will be dire costs if they repeat the violent repression as in 1988," warned Ms Khan.

"The demonstrators in Myanmar have the right to peacefully express their opinion and the Government of Myanmar has a duty to fully respect this right."

"China, as a permanent member of the UN Security Council and as a government with political influence over Myanmar, has a critical role to play. So do ASEAN countries, Japan and India. They must use their influence to end the truly forgotten human rights emergency in Myanmar."
UPDATE: If you're in Canada, you can go here to sign a petition going to Foreign Affairs Minister Maxime Bernier, or attend a protest at Parliament Hill on the evenings of September 26, 27, and 28. There may be events in your area as well.