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20-26 September: Demonstrations and Media Crackdowns Mark 3rd Anniversary of Saffron Revolution

September 27, 2010

Today marks the 3rd Anniversary of the Saffron Revolution when tens of thousands of peaceful demonstrators led by Buddhist monks took to the streets of Burma’s cities, triggered by an overnight 500% increase in fuel prices on 15 August 2007. The protests escalated to hundreds of thousands of monks, nuns, and citizens participating in over 150 protests across the country. On 26 September, the SPDC launched a violent crackdown, arresting over 3,000 people and raiding monasteries. At least 31 people were killed. The international community responded with sharp criticisms and supporters around the world held solidarity protests. Read more.

This year’s anniversary was again marked by demonstrations and events around the world, including Chiang Mai and Bangkok, the Philippines, Hong Kong, Sri Lanka, India, and the United States, where supporters commemorated those who risked their lives three years ago to oppose the ruthless military regime.

During the demonstration in Manila, the Free Burma Campaign – Philippines denounced this year’s elections by the SPDC as “a desperate attempt at showing the region and the world that they are on the right path to democracy.” Demonstrators from the Hong Kong Coalition for a Free Burma managed to enter the SPDC consulate in Hong Kong for the first time without obstruction. SPDC consulate officers quickly turned off the lights and hid from the protestors, who were escorted out by building security 15 minutes later. See photos.

Exiled Burmese media websites also came under attack today and were still partly unavailable at the time of publishing. On a mirror site, the Irrawaddy wrote that, “The attacks coincide with the third anniversary of the “Saffron Revolution,” the monk-led protest in Burma. The first major attack was in September 2008, on the first anniversary.” These attacks demonstrate the importance of the exiled media in broadcasting information about the military regime to Burma’s diaspora and the international community and, as such, the threat they pose to the regime. The timely attack on the anniversary of the Saffron Revolution is another indication that the regime has no intentions of opening up physical or online political space in Burma before the elections. Our apologies if the links in this message are not available.

This past week, the ASEAN Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights met from 20-24 September in Kuala Lumpur. The Solidarity for Asian Peoples’ Advocacy Task Force on ASEAN and Human Rights (SAPA TF-AHR) requested a meeting with the commission, but once again found their request denied in contradiction to ASEAN’s official purpose “to promote a people-oriented ASEAN”. SAPA TF-AHR, including representatives from over 50 civil society and people’s organizations from Southeast Asia, prepared a submission to the AICHR, which urgently called on the AICHR to address the appalling situation of widespread and systematic violations of human rights and international humanitarian laws in Burma. The submission also called for the regime to “ensure that human rights law and standards are respected and protected during the election period and beyond”.

On this significant anniversary, ASEAN – particularly AICHR – and the international community must act to address issues of human rights violations, political repression and systemic economic instability in Burma. Hundreds of thousands of people in Burma courageously united three years ago to call for change, but were brutally struck down by the military. The international community, free from the repression of the military regime, must echo the calls from the people of Burma demanding genuine change and national reconciliation.

The human rights violations committed by the SPDC regime with impunity must come to an end. On 22 September, France became the 10th country to support the creation of a UN commission of inquiry into crimes against humanity and war crimes being committed in Burma, following Australia, the United Kingdom, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, the United States, Canada, Hungary, New Zealand, and Netherlands. Other countries must follow their lead and express their support for this crucial fact-finding commission.

News Highlights

NLD continues election boycott activities despite regime’s warnings and threats

Daw Aung San Suu Kyi is included on the voters’ list

Inside Burma

Fourteen Rangoon independent candidates form a coalition

Five youth organizations join to form an alliance to strengthen election boycott activities

US diplomats meet with main independent political parties in Rangoon

Election Commission rejects Democratic Party, Union of Myanmar Federation of National Politics and 88 Generation Student Youths (Union of Myanmar)’s scripts for television campaign ads

Five youths arrested in Rangoon for distributing leaflets calling for election boycott

USDP distributes mobile telephones valued at USD$1,570 in return for votes

USDP distributes 100,000 newspapers raising suspicions about the funding or source of the newsletters

USDP provides political and election campaigning training for over 400 party candidates in Naypyidaw

National Unity Party to field 990 candidates; will not form an alliance with the USDP

Karenni Army prohibits USDP from campaigning in several villages under its control in Karenni State

SPDC foreign minister claims progress towards millennium development goals despite having the 138th lowest human development index out of 182 countries in the 2009 Human Development Report

SPDC denies allegations of a nuclear weapon program during UN International Atomic Energy Agency General Conference

SPDC relocates nearly 30,000 civil servants from Rangoon to Naypyidaw

SPDC Army soldiers in many areas are refusing to carry out routine tasks in protest at short rations and lack of access to their pay

SPDC Army ambushed soldiers of the First Brigade of Shan State Army (SSA) ‘North’ in the state’s Mongyai Township

SPDC Army bolsters troops in northern Kachin state; Kachin Independence Army troops fire at SPDC Army helicopter

SPDC Army clashes with Karen National Liberation Army in Karen State’s Hlaing Bwe Township

Democratic Karen Buddhist Army clashes with Myawaddy police on the Thai-Burma border

Regional

China pledges to give junta USD$4.2 billion interest-free loan

Thai Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva calls for “more inclusive” political system, including allowing the participation of Daw Aung Sang Suu Kyi

Daw Aung San Suu Kyi receives honorary membership from the Council of Asian Liberals and Democrats

International

France, Ireland, Netherlands, and New Zealand are the latest countries to voice support for a UN commission of inquiry into crimes against humanity and war crimes in Burma

International delegates criticize the human rights situation in Burma during UN Human Rights Council

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon urges ASEAN to address Burma’s elections, as “failure to meet these expectations could undermine the credibility of the process—which, in turn, could reflect on Asean’s collective values and principles”

Obama urges regime to release all political prisoners during US-ASEAN summit in New York

UK MP visits Thai-Burma border; pledges to help support the human rights defenders and democracy activists

US State Department spokesman criticizes election commission’s decision to disband NLD; finds it “another discouraging sign … that elections will be anything but democratic there”

Latest from the Blog

Waihnin Pwint Thon Speaks for Burma and Political Prisoners at the UK Labour Party Conference
By James Mackay

Election Commission Wipes Away Opposition
By Burma Partnership

Action

Anti-election posters were distributed by campaigners in some townships in Arakan State during International Peace Day

Opinion

Elections a cynical process of fake regime change
By Dave Mathieson
Mizzima News

Than Shwe’s ‘Final Solution’ for ethnic Burma
By Zoya Phan
Democratic Voice of Burma

UN inaction on Burma war crimes ‘unjustifiable’
By Sir Geoffrey Nice QC and Julianne Kerr Stevenson
Democratic Voice of Burma

Statements and Press Releases

Myanmar: Political Prisoners must be freed
By Amnesty International

Burma Campaign New Zealand welcomes the New Zealand Government’s endorsement of a Commission of Inquiry on Burma
By Burma Campaign New Zealand

Netherlands Supports UN Burma Crimes Inquiry
By Burma Campaign UK

Momentum Grows Behind Calls for a UN Commission of Inquiry to Investigate Burma’s Crimes Against Humanity
By Christian Solidarity Worldwide

CALD Awards Honorary Individual Membership Plaque to Daw Aung San Suu Kyi
By Council of Asian Liberals and Democrats

France supports a Commission of Inquiry
By FIDH, Human Rights Watch, Info-Birmanie and French Human Rights League

Activists say “ there’s blood in the ballot”; reiterate call to probe junta’s crimes against humanity
By Free Burma Coalition – Philippines

HKCFB – Support the Burma people’s call for genuine democracy and liberation!
By Hong Kong Coalition for a Free Burma

Japan: Press Burma for Justice
By Human Rights Watch

Philippines: Press for Justice in Burma
By Human Rights Watch

US/ASEAN: Three Years After Crackdown, No Justice in Burma
By Human Rights Watch

Statement on the Third Year Anniversary of the Saffron Revolution
By International Burmese Monks Organization

Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Czech Republic received a delegation of the representatives of Burmese opposition
By Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Czech Republic

NDF Support Recommendation for Forming UN Commission of Inquiry
By National Democratic Front

ND-Burma Releases Periodic Report on the Human Rights Situation in Burma
By Network for Human Rights Documentation – Burma

Migrant Workers Must Be Protected and the Thai Government Must Comply with ILO Convention 19
By State Enterprise Workers Relations Confederation, Thai Labour Solidarity Committee and Human Rights and Development Foundation

To Get Genuine Peace in Burma, Lets Oppose the 2010 Election!
By Women’s League of Burma

Reports

Week 28: 2010 Election Watch (14-20 September)
By Altsean-Burma

China’s Myanmar Strategy: Elections, Ethnic Politics and Economics
By International Crisis Group

Weekly Political Events Regarding the SPDC’s Election (035-2010) (in Burmese)
By Network for Democracy and Development

Report on the Human Rights Situation in Burma: January – July 2010
By Network for Human Rights Documentation – Burma

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This post is in: Weekly Highlights

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