Global Day of Prayer for Burma – March 14, 2009

The Global Day of Prayer for Burma is an annual event initiated in 1997 by Christians Concerned for Burma at the request of Burma’s democracy leader, Nobel Peace Prize recipient Daw Aung San Suu Kyi.  Next Sunday, churches around the world are urged to pray for Burma during their services.  See the following link for details:

http://www.prayforburma.org/IDX/Prayer/Day_of_Prayer/2010/GDOP%202010.pdf

For Seattle area runners/walkers, the Run for Relief (a fundraiser for relief efforts in Burma) will take place next Sunday in Gig Harbor….See following link for details:  http://www.chapelhillpc.org/our-calendars-mainmenu-17/special-events-mainmenu-131.html

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10,000 More Villagers Displaced

Even while talking publicly about the need for progressing towards “disciplined democracy,” the Burma Army and their henchmen continue the campaign against the ethnic nationalities–10,000  Shan (click here) have been displaced since July 27. and a buildup against the Karen in the Three Pagoda Pass area (click here) is also in process.  On the public side,  Than Shwe cuts the unearned sentence of the illegally held Aung San Suu Kyi from three years to 18 months (still keeping her out of the way for next year’s rigged elections), and the UN makes noises about the unfairness of it all. Asean delivers mild rebukes. On the private side, gang rape, murder, forced displacement, ethnic cleansing  and other crimes against humanity continue unabated.

How many deaths does it take til we know that too many people have died?  (Bob Dylan)

For more info from the Shan Women’s Action Network, click here.

How do you bring about regime change if the regime has no interest in changing?

Silence Is the Enemy (Rape)

Nikolas Kristof writes about ending the silence associated with talking about sexual violence.   A report this week from Free Burma Rangers breaks the silence on the recent gang rape of a 12 year old girl in Shan State, Burma–part of the continuing crimes against humanity and ethnic cleansing being carried out by the Burma Army. 

Rape is one of the oldest weapons used to terrorize women and children and whole communities.  A google search on “rape, why women stay silent” turned up this article about women in DR Congo.  

Last year, the UN recognized rape as a weapon of war-something victims have recognized for centuries (see article from Human Rights Watch).  It’s almost exactly a year later….has anything changed? More words from the UN-good words, but, maybe I haven’t looked hard enough to find it, but have any of the regimes using this weapon been made accountable for their actions/inactions?  Are they being prosecuted?  Is it being stopped?  How do we make it stop being OK to rape?

Still More Families Displaced by Burma Army

Friends on the ground in Burma now report another 300 IDPs have just arrived at a village near the Thai-Burma border (along with the 200+ who arrived days ago). These people are fleeing the continued fighting and oppression of the Burma Army and DKBA, usually arriving with only what they can carry.  While this is a more secure location than being under attack in their home villages, this is still a place where kids have to learn in school what a landmine looks like so they don’t accidentally pick one up!  

Urgent needs (other than peace and freedom) in order of priority:

1.  rice and cooking oil
2.  plastic tarps for emergency shelters
3.  mosquito nets
4.  blankets

Anyone wanting to help out with life-saving resources can donate through our friends at Partners Relief & Development  .

How You Can Help

The following  from the US Campaign for Burma tells one way you can help!


For years, Burma’s military regime has carried out brutal human rights abuses against its own civilians.  Their abuses include the conscription of tens of thousands of child soldiers, the destruction and forced displacement of over 3,300 ethnic minority villages, widespread rape of Burmese women, the killing of civilians, and forcing hundreds of thousands of Burmese people into forced labor, what some call modern-day slavery.
These are not simply human rights abuses — they are mass atrocities called “crimes against humanity” and “war crimes,” meaning that they are illegal under international law such as the Geneva Conventions and Rome Statute. 
In the past, the United Nations Security Council has voted to create a “Commission of Inquiry” to investigate abuses of a major magnitude

— such as in the former Yugoslavia, Rwanda, and the Darfur region of Sudan.  The Commission of Inquiry then makes recommendations to the U.N. Security Council for action. However, no such Commission of Inquiry been created for Burma.
Now, two leading members of the U.S. Congress, Joseph Crowley (D-NY) and Don Manzullo (R-IL) have organized a letter to President Obama asking him to press the U.N. Security Council to create a Commission of Inquiry to investigate crimes against humanity and war crimes committed by Burma’s military regime.  They are circulating a letter in  Congress and asking other Congressmembers to sign-on.  They want as many members as possible to sign the letter, which will then be sent to President Obama.
We need your help to get more members of Congress to sign. When members of Congress organize letters like this they are called “Dear Colleague” letters.  We want you to call your member of Congress and ask them to sign this “Dear Colleague” letter.
Every American is represented in the U.S. Congress by one member of the U.S. House of Representatives.  We would like you to call your Congressional office to urge your member of the U.S. House of Representatives (NOT the U.S. Senate) to sign the “Dear Colleague” letter along with Congressman Crowley and Manzullo.  You do not have to be a citizen; just live or work in your Congressperson’s district. Below are specific instructions on how you can do this. 

 

Click here for the rest of the instructions…….

More Families Displaced by Burma Army

We just got an email this morning saying another 33 families (204 people) have been forced from their villages in Burma and are moving to a safer location (safer, not SAFE) near the border of Thailand.   The place they are fleeing to has been burned down by the Burma army several times in the past.  Their situation  is a direct result of the continued oppression of the Burma Army, which has destroyed over 3,300 villages in the last 10 years.  If the world were just, fair, or remotely reasonable, it would be the generals on trial and Aung San Suu Kyi and the people of Burma would be free.  Instead, she faces prison, and they continue driving families from their homes and taking or destroying the little they own.