BURMA: AHRC petitions governments, launches webpage on protests

(Hong Kong, August 31, 2007) The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) on Friday launched a new webpage and began petitioning individual governments on the recent dramatic protests against fuel price increases in Burma.

The Hong Kong-based regional rights group is sending letters and information packets to diplomatic missions throughout the territory calling for much stronger international action in response to the events in Burma, where scattered demonstrations in the last two weeks have been repeatedly put down through the use of state-organised gangs of thugs.

“We have asked the representatives at these missions to refer our concerns to their respective foreign ministries or departments, as well as the relevant embassies in Burma or Thailand, with a view to obtaining a much more concerted and determined response to the recent events there,” Basil Fernando, executive director of the AHRC, said.

“We are extremely disappointed with the lack of international action on events in Burma during the last couple of weeks and hope that they will take our calls seriously,” he said.

“For people in Burma, these protests are not about politics, they’re about subsistence,” Fernando stressed.

“What we are looking for at this stage is a much more directed effort at getting the issues taken up in the United Nations and other key international bodies, like the European Union and Association of South East Asian Nations,” he added.

The AHRC has expressed anger at the lack of effort to intervene by the UN.

In an August 24 open letter, it described a statement by UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon on the situation in Burma as “trivial and belated”.

The military regime in Burma increased the cost of fuels by up to five times without prior warning on August 15, causing confusion and a spilling out of resentment in street marches that began on August 19 and have continued nearly ever day since.

AHRC staff would call and visit individual missions for follow up, Fernando added.

Meanwhile, the AHRC on Friday also launched a new webpage on the protests.

The webpage consists of links to its statements and appeals on the events, and also to outside news sources.

It features photographs of a government-organised gang attacking protestors in Hledan on August 28.

“This webpage has been set up to complement the internet advocacy that we have already been doing on these extremely important events, and we hope that it will be of use to persons seeking to get a clearer picture of what is really going on in the country,” Fernando said.

The webpage can be accessed at http://campaigns.ahrchk.net/burmaprotests/

Document Type : Press Release
Document ID : AHRC-PL-035-2007
Countries : Burma (Myanmar),
Campaigns : Burma Peoples Protests