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11-17 October: Students and Youths Oppose 7 November Polls in Burma

October 18, 2010

Today marks World Youth Day for Democracy, a day in which Burma’s student and youth organizations are remembering their colleagues who have been imprisoned for demanding positive change. Students have been leaders in calling for progress in Burma throughout the country’s history, whether calling for the right to form student unions or resisting military rule as in the 1988 uprising. Students have also actively opposed the regime’s ‘roadmap to democracy’ with “Vote No” campaigns in the lead up to the 2008 constitutional referendum.

Most recently, students and youths have been actively campaigning against the regime’s 7 November elections. Fearful of the power of student resistance, the regime responds to such activism with harsh crackdowns. For example, on 17 September, six students were arrested in Rangoon for simply distributing leaflets calling for a public boycott of the elections. The junta has threatened those who campaign against the elections with jail time and steep fines.

Four organizations – Nationalities Youth Forum, Students and Youth Congress of Burma, All Burma Federation of Student Unions, and Generation Wave – released a statement today calling for the immediate release of all students and youth political prisoners, an end to the oppression of democratic students and youth activists, cease of attacks in ethnic areas, and the commencement of dialogue between the junta and Burma’s democratic and ethnic forces. Read the full statement here.

On this day, the four student and youth organizations are also launching a new informational flyer about student resistance inside Burma entitled “Youth Activists at Risk”. The flyer documents youth resistance against the military regime’s flawed elections. It also highlights the cases of five of the 285 students and youths currently imprisoned for their political activities. The organizations are hoping that groups around the world can use the flyer to help call for freedom for these student political prisoners as well as all of Burma’s 2,100 political prisoners. Download the flyer here.

Until all political prisoners, including students and youths, are free and able to participate in political processes, Burma will not see the positive change that the people desire.

News Highlights

Daw Aung San Suu Kyi says that she does not plan to vote in the elections and that the election laws prohibit her from doing so

Ethnic leaders join NLD on “no vote” campaign trip to Kachin State

Inside Burma

USDP signboards vandalized with red paint in Pegu Division

SPDC reportedly plans to release as many as 11,000 prisoners so they can vote in the elections

Election Commission (EC) may cancel polls in five more townships in Shan State

EC allows political parties to raise approved campaign posters, charging 1,200 kyat (about US$1.20) per square foot

USDP members go door to door in townships in Rangoon, Irrawaddy Division and Arakan State, asking people for advanced votes in exchange for money and other opportunities

USDP holds meeting to discuss securing advance votes from civil servants, soldiers and junta-backed social organizations

Local SPDC ban the NDF from campaigning in parts of Myitkyina, Kachin State

Village SPDC members have prohibited the All Mon Regions Democracy Party from campaigning in Mudon Township, Mon State

SPDC authorities demand information about all guests visiting New Mon State Party offices in Mon State

USDP distributes election campaign t-shirts to trishaw drivers and day labourers in Maungdaw, Arakan State, urging them to support the party

USDP candidate, U Thein Zaw, made a donation 3 million kyat (US$3,109) to the Kachin Roman Catholic Church in Kachin State

Village headman in northern Shan State was murdered after campaigning for the USDP

Independent Rangoon candidate Yan Kyaw launches campaign with the slogan ‘Don’t vote for a yes-man’

The father of a 24-year-old woman kills an SPDC Army officer in Kyauktaw Township, Arakan State, for attempting to rape his daughter

SPDC Army commander kills a soldier for criticizing his use of forced labour and rape

Insein prison court sentences Kandarawaddy news editor Nyi Nyi Tun to 13 years in jail

Court absolves USDP candidate and Yuzana construction company owner of wrongdoing in lawsuit over land confiscation in Kachin State

Burma’s prisons have one doctor for every 8,000 prisoners

Chin human rights and democracy activist Victor Biak Lian has been awarded the St. Stephen’s human rights award by the Norwegian Mission to the East

Regional

SPDC PM Thein Sein assures Thai PM Abhisit Vejjajiva that the border at Mae Sot will open to trade again soon

ASEAN Secretary-General hopes that the elections will lead to national reconciliation and help end Burma’s international isolation

International

New Zealand Parliament unanimously passes a motion calling on the SPDC to ‘release all political prisoners arrested for their peaceful opposition to the regime’

US hopes that whatever government emerges from the 7 November elections will proceed along a new path

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This post is in: Weekly Highlights

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