Category Archives: announcements

Christmas for Burma?

Burma is a country of numerous denominations and over 130 ethnic groups. Not all of them will be celebrating Christmas, and most of the country’s 50 million inhabitants are still looking at a desperate future. During this holiday time, hundreds of thousands of Burmese will be on the run from civil war and persecution, and over a million are living in desolate conditions at the bottom rung in foreign societies in countries they had to escape to in search of security and a livelihood.

The year 2011 has seen notable developments not only inside Burma and among Burmese communities in Burma’s neighboring countries, but also at Burma Center Prague. While we are concluding the – for now – last year of our three-year project in India, we launched one more project, as we finally garnered financial support for the assistance we provide to Burmese refugees in the Czech Republic. With this new project, we enlarged our team from 3 to 8 part or full-time members.

Now is the best time to thank our supporters, and not least the volunteers and core members who donated much of their free time and perseverance. As you know, the global economic crisis affects not only profit-making businesses, but even more the work of charitable endeavors that have to rely on “that little extra” money from their supporters.

Become a Friend of Burma

In 2007, the Saffron Revolution was violently suppressed. In 2008, over 100,000 Burmese perished in the aftermath of Cyclone Nargis. The year 2010 saw elections that were far from democratic but might still bring about some changes. While civil war in the areas of the Karen and Kachin intensifies and increases the suffering of the population, and over 1,000 thousand political prisoners remain in prison for having exercised democracy, foreign investors have already begun to exploit Burmese natural resources.

While some may see as a time for cautious optimism, we still need to make sure that further developments take the right direction.

The non-profit organization Burma Center Prague is one of the most active advocates of the Burmese people, not only in Europe. We focus on the integration of Burmese refugees into Czech society, on the empowerment of Burmese civil society and democratic forces in Burma’s neighboring country India, and we seek to raise awareness among the general public about the complex situation.

It goes without saying that we would not be able to do this work without the help of volunteers and individual donors. Our projects are usually funded only in part and don’t cover all of our activities. We need additional support to fill the gap.

We would like to ask you, therefore, to join our group of our supporters, the Friends of Burma, .

The year 2012 will see new elections in Burma, this time with the participation of Aung San Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy. And there is a real chance that Burma’s political prisoners will be released. By supporting us, you can help ensure that the changes happening in Burma will bring the best to the people in Burma, and not only to the Burmese army, the ruling elites, and foreign investors.

Famine in Burma – the next step

The suffering population of Burma’s Chin State has made it through the famine, not least thanks to your valuable support. To date, we have transferred 322,000 CZK (about €13,000 or US$16,000) to Burmese relief organizations on the Indo-Burmese border. Much work still has to be done in order to help the people get back on their feet, which is not an easy task given the suppression of the Chin ethnic group by the Burmese army and the complete unawareness of ordinary Burmese about the possible role of a strong, independent and qualified civil society to represent people’s interests.

Common wisdom in the area of development aid states that you help the hungry most sustainably by teaching them to catch fish, rather than supplying fish and making them dependent in the long run. In this spirit, Burma Center Prague’s philosophy implies that we empower grassroots groups and efficiently support their operation on a case-by-case basis, demanding in return accountability, efficient work, and development of their skills. We consider refugees living in India or the Czech Republic not a burden, but a fortunate opportunity to invest in the present Burma through trans-border activities and in the future society of Burma through the repatriation of qualified and supportive citizens during the country’s transition.

While we will still continue until the end of the year to collect money for a final delivery of aid to famine victims, our strategy for 2012 foresees moving on to the next phase of help.

Please take this last opportunity to fund some more rice and seeds for the impoverished villagers – find out more at Starting from next year, we will focus on empowering the Burmese self-support groups for more efficient and sustainable help to their fellow countrymen.

If, however, you would like to support Burmese civil society now, you can do so at

All that’s left is to wish you and yours a happy and peaceful holiday season!

The Burma Center Prague team


P.S. The BCP office will be closed from 22 December to 2 January as the team takes a much-needed rest.


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Season’s Greetings

Dear Friends and Supporters.

As the end of the year approaches, we would like to look back at our achievements in 2010. With your help, we were able to take significant strides forward, spending several days helping Burmese refugees as they embarked on their new life in the Czech Republic, organizing several cultural and informational events at festivals and our own events, and continuing in our project in which we supported Burmese civil society and exile media in India and held a national public appeal for donations for victims of famine in northwestern Burma.

Thank you for your help and support of Burma Center Prague’s activities. We look forward to another year of meaningful activities and hope that our donors will again support us so that we can continue in our work.

We would like to wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year, and express our hope for a better new year for Burma and the Burmese.

Yours sincerely,

Burma Center Prague Team

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Freedom: back in the big prison called Burma

Rumors are saying that Daw Aung San Suu Kyi will be released today. Mizzima reports that “Tweets on Suu Kyi rank fourth worldwide”.

A massive crowd is gathering at the NLD headquarters. The news will make its way through Burma and the Generals might find out that they have not managed to sideline the NLD. And once again these praised strategists will have to admit a defeat they have not been prepared for.

The bad news is that the release of Suu Kyi probably won’t effect any changes to the situation of Burma.

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Burma Center Prague: ready for the future

We have received the news that our web site has been archived by the Czech National Library. The condition for being accepted in the archive is that the content be considered relevant for preservation.

In the Web Archive’s words:

This website has been chosen by the National Library of the Czech Republic as a quality resource to be preserved for the future and become part of the Czech cultural heritage. It is archived several times a year and its record is included in the Czech National Bibliography and the National Library catalogue.

We are grateful and proud that we are able to contribute our share to the Czech cultural heritage and, aware of our responsibility, will continue to deliver best services drawing from our local support and helping the people of Burma.

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What are Czech journalists doing in India?

What are they doing there?

Do they follow Buddha on his path to enlightenment?

Do they seek comfort in the shadows of the fabulous Taj Mahal?

Do they sing the soprano part in the next Bollywood movie?

The answer is here. Thank you for your patience!


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Birthday Wishes to Daw Aung San Suu Kyi

The non-profit NGO Burma Center Prague and its supporters wish to express their sincerest birthday wishes to Daw Aung San Suu Kyi. Suu Kyi emerged as the winner of Burma’s last fair elections in 1990, but the regime refused to let her take up her legitimate position. Ever since, she has spent most of the time in prison and under house arrest. In 1991, Suu Kyi was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in absentia at the suggestion of the then-president of Czechoslovakia, Václav Havel. To date she remains the only laureate who cannot live in freedom. In 2003 she narrowly escaped assassination, reportedly by the Union Solidarity and Development Association (USDA). That association is now one of the regime’s proxy parties in the upcoming sham elections. Lately, she and more than 2 000 other political prisoners have been barred from participating in the upcoming elections of 2010, which means they far from satisfy even the most basic of democratic principles.
We honor Suu Kyi’s contribution to the peaceful democratization of Burma, her tireless struggle on behalf of the powerless, and her dedication to the unity of all Burma’s people. Even though she is deprived of liberty and defamed by the regime in her own country, she is now and will always be upheld as a symbol of hope in Burma’s dark times.

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