Today, a report entitled “Life Under the Junta: Evidence of Crimes Against Humanity in Burma’s Chin State” was released by the organization Physicians for Human Rights. This report is extremely important for Burma, for the Chin people, and for our work.
“Despite the November 2010 electoral exercise, the military still controls all branches of government in Burma. PHR calls for an official Commission of Inquiry on Burma, whose mandate should be to investigate violations of human rights and humanitarian law and to identify perpetrators of such abuses.”
While the world public appears to be paralised by the happy news about Daw Aung San Suu Kyi’s release, the nations of ASEAN predictably started to call for an end of sanctions against Burma, asserting that the elections have been “conducive and transparent”, as the Indonesian Foreign Minister, Marty Natalegawa, puts it motivated by certainly anything else but the promotion of truth and human well-being.
It is perfect timing when these cynical strategists and businessmen have to find answers now to the hard facts that this report has produced. Global leaders cannot be reminded often enough about the relevance and universal validity of human rights and the interests of the powerless.
For the Chin people
“While the horrors of military rule in Eastern Burma have been better known and documented, we know much less about Burma’s Western regions, including Chin State, on Burma’s border with the Indian State of Mizoram.”
It is a tragic momentum in the suffering of Burma’s people that the lack of resources – and I am also talking about public attention – has led to a situation where crises seem to compete, like those in West and in East Burma. Historical disagreements between ethnic groups contribute to this unfortunate constellation. Our organization, the Burma Center Prague, has already two years ago drawn the conclusion to engage for West Burma, because systematic support has so far mainly streamed through Thailand. The proximity of West Burma to India gives a deceptive impression that friends are near. Although India is the world’s largest democracy, this fact, however, doesn’t seem to prevent it’s government’s from supporting the Burmese regime for its own economic and strategic interests.
It is crucial to emphasize that the west of Burma needs to be included in our considerations. It should, however, not replace the eastern regions. The cause for both crises, as distant as they may be, is largely the same and has its roots in Naypyidaw.
For the Chin people it will be very helpful that an organization operated by others than their countrymen confirms their own findings. The results are as clear as they could be:
“Nearly 92 percent of the households interviewed reported at least one episode of forced labor, such as portering of military supplies or building roads.”
The author Physicians for Human Rights even suggests that the atrocities committed amount to Crimes Against Humanity.
For our work
It has happened today, in the morning: The counter on www.dmsbambus.cz made a leap to the 100% mark.
That means: Thanks to our supporters, we hit the second goal of our famine relief campaign – incredible 300,000 CZK. We obviously decided to raise our goal to half a million – money that is desperately needed to buy food and medicine for Burmese suffering from famine in Chin State.
The report of Physicians for Human Rights confirmed our conviction that our help really goes there where it is needed. If you decide to make major changes in your life to dedicate your energy to charitable goals, there is nothing better than knowing that your efforts make perfect sense.
But it is still a long way to go. Thank you for joining us!