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Students and Youths Oppose 7 November Polls in Burma

By Burma Partnership  •  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.

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