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Thein Sein, Shwe Mann, Should Reveal 1988 Role and Military History

By Burma Campaign UK  •  August 7, 2015

On the 27th anniversary of the crushing of the pro-democracy uprising on 8/8/88, Burma Campaign UK is calling on President Thein Sein, Speaker Shwe Mann, and all election candidates or potential Presidential candidates with a military background to publish their military records in full and their role in the crushing of the pro-democracy uprising in 1988.

The people of Burma have the right to know the history and activities of those who are asking for their vote and want to be in government in Burma. There should be full transparency.

When Burma Campaign UK made a call last year for President Thein Sein to reveal his role in the crushing of the uprising in 1988, there was an angry response from the Burmese government. They refused to publish Thein Sein’s military record and instead tried to deflect attention by stating Thein Sein was not based in Rangoon. However, the uprising took place across Burma and was violently crushed all over the country, not just in Rangoon.

A US embassy diplomatic cable dated 20th October 2004 said Thein Sein ‘distinguished’ himself cracking down against the 1988 uprising. It stated: ‘Major Thein Sein served as commander of Light Infantry Division (LID)-55, one of the elite organizations loyal to the Burmese Socialist Program Party (BSPP). In that capacity, he distinguished himself, as did Soe Win, in the crackdown against the 1988 uprising in support of democracy.’
There is already evidence that President Thein Sein has also committed war crimes. Reports published by the United Nations in 1998 and 1999 named Thein Sein as ordering human rights violations which meet the criteria of war crimes.

Parliamentary Speaker Shwe Mann won his Thura medal for operations he commanded in Karen State, including the attack on Manerplaw, where countless human rights violations were committed which meet the definition of war crimes.

“When people vote in November, they have the right to know if candidates have been involved in the crushing of the pro-democracy uprising in 1988, or are war criminals,” said Anna Roberts, Executive Director of Burma Campaign UK. “President Thein Sein and Speaker Shwe Mann should set a good example and publish their records in full. The reality is that it is likely that some candidates belong in jail, not in Parliament.”

For more information contact:  Anna Roberts on +44 (0) 7950849529

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This post is in: 2015 Burma Elections, Press Release

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