« Two reflections on Burma from NPR | Main | The Good Samaritan, U2, and Diversity in the Church »

October 10, 2007


Thanks for your posts regarding Burma this week. The situation there is something we need to give our attention and our prayers to.

The United Nations, International Bodies
First Avenue at 46th Street
New York, NY 10017
Subject: Urgent Action: Appeal to UN Security Council
Date: November 4, 2007

Dear Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and Members of the United Nations,

As you are well aware, the country Burma is presently in the midst of a severe political and humanitarian crisis that desperately needs immediate international attention and intervention. The international community must take a stand against the Burma's regime.

We are writing to you with an urgent appeal to take strong actions including political and economic sanctions along with humanitarian aid, to resolve the political crisis in Burma. In order for economic sanctions to be effective they must be imposed by a coalition of nations from around the world including China, India and Russia.

It is imperative, not only for the well-being and stability of that nation, but also for the world as a whole, that the international community make every effort to restrain the forces of violence and take all appropriate measures to uphold the internationally recognized rights to peaceful assembly, freedom of expression and the exercise of human conscience.

In making this appeal, Burma Democracy Network (BDN) wishes to make clear that the issue facing humanity is not a question of taking sides in a country's internal dispute. It is a question of how we, as people everywhere, learn to resolve our differences and disputes. We stand at a crossroads in history: we can either choose the nightmare of violence or take upon ourselves the challenge of peace. It is vital that the world's primary international forum, the United Nations, give a clear signal that the way forward for humanity and our planet must be the choice of peace.

It is clear that the Burma's regime is incapable and unwilling to begin a transition to democracy. The regime's sheer contempt for world opinion is appalling. It is inconceivable that the regime can violently suppress the democracy movement in Burma and incarcerate Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, a Nobel laureate and democratic leader. Such brutal acts may cause the utter-devastation of the pro-democracy movement which would result continued oppression of the people of Burma at the hands of this unelected Military Junta that is a world renowned human rights abuser and killing the Burmese people, monks, and the ethnics Karens, Rohingyas and Shans, creation of over 3 million refugees, displacement of millions internally in Burma, tolerance of the production and trafficking of illegal narcotics, and indifference to the transmission of HIV/AIDS from Burma to other parts of Asia, all pose a legitimate threat to international peace and security.

Burma is home to the world's longest-running war. The regime has been engaged in protracted war, close to 60 years, against the ethnics Karens, Shans, Rohingyas and the regime has been targeting unarmed civilian communities. These include torture, extrajudicial executions, and forcible relocation, land confiscation, requirement to take part in unpaid forced labor and military portering, and the forcible recruitment of children to the military. We ask you particularly to consider the immediate situation of ethnic minority civilians in eastern and western Burma who are currently facing massive regime attacks. We urge you to support a resolution from the UN Security Council that should, among other things, call for an end to attacks on these civilians, and unfettered access for humanitarian aid.

While the regime claims that any interference in their internal affairs would derail the country's planned transition to democracy, there have been minimal signs of progress. The regime claims to be enacting a program of democratization, the so called 7-step road map to build a "modern, democratic, prosperous state", but events, such as the continued imprisonment of Aung San Suu Kyi, testify otherwise. The political crisis in Burma is not today's only hot issue, and that there are many and varied dangers in the world. But inconsistent international positions lead to a growth in the ambition of other dictatorial or semi-dictatorial regimes, and with it a sense of impunity. Therefore, we call on the international community led by the United Nations Security Council to pay due attention to the political crisis in Burma and reach agreement on the condemnation and isolation of military dictatorship, and to adopt an accommodating approach to the victims of its persecution.

The previous annulling of the results of the 1990 elections, of which the National League for Democracy (NLD) was clear winner, was – by breaching common international rules carried out without regard to cultural or spiritual resources or historical experience. At the same time we are sorry to observe that international institutions involved in practical politics continue not to advance sufficiently those ideals from which often with great pathos they derive and their own existence. It is not possible, for instance, to yield again and again to economic interests without regard to human rights and freedoms, or to accept claims that interfering in internal affairs is unacceptable. In a globalised world, such an approach holds up less than at any time in the past.

We believe the right time has come for the United Nations to take concrete actions for the realization of peaceful settlement for all peoples in Burma. International solidarity campaigns have helped bring peace, stability and democracy to such place as South Africa, Cyprus, Lebanon, Kuwait, East Timor, Cambodia, Sierra Leone and many others. Therefore, we would like to see the same strong actions implemented for the people of Burma who have bravely suffered alone from over forty-five years of Military Rule.

It is the responsibility of the international community to use every instrument in its power to protect the safety and livelihoods of all citizens of the globe and to ensure that all people are able to live under the blanket of peace, freedom and prosperity. We feel that the United Nations is the most appropriate and effective channel to bring justice to Burma.

Therefore, we urge you to bring Burma's grave political crisis to the attention of the United Nations Security Council in order to immediately assert UN political intervention and to release Aung San Suu Kyi including all the political prisoners of conscience and to initiate a credible and inclusive political process.

Please don't allow any governments to bully or bribe you. Stand strong and work for a democratic and peaceful resolution to this conflict. We look forward to a response to this email and immediate action to help resolve the political crisis in Burma.

Respectfully yours,

Rafi Dwatt
Director, Head of the Burma Democracy Network
[email protected]
[email protected]

The comments to this entry are closed.


Now available for presale

  • Buy on Amazon --
    U2: Rock 'n' Roll to Change the World

    From its beginning in 1976, U2 has consistently interacted with its environment, both influencing and being influenced by the world around. Giving as much attention to social, political and spiritual issues as it does musical creativity, this Irish quartet provides a unique case study in the intersection of artistic expression and cultural engagement.

The One Campaign

    Please join the ONE campaign to end extreme poverty and preventable disease, particularly in Africa.

About Me

Tim Neufeld

  • Full-time professor, part-time pastor, husband, father of two small boys, news writer for @U2 (atu2.com), just trying to find my way in a new world.

© 2006-2016 Timothy D. Neufeld


  • WWW