ALTSEAN-BURMA
Alternative Asean Network on Burma
campaigns, advocacy and capacity-building for human rights
Home
Research
Multimedia
Links
About Us
PRESS RELEASES, OPEN LETTERS, STATEMENTS

For Immediate Release: 12 October 2007

"PUT YOUR MONEY WHERE YOUR MOUTH IS"
ASEAN ACTIVISTS URGE TOUGHER EU SANCTIONS ON BURMA

Bangkok Fri: - The Alternative ASEAN Network on Burma (Altsean-Burma) today urged the European Union to fulfill its promise to impose targeted economic sanctions against Burma's State Peace and Development Council (SPDC).

"The people of Burma have risked their lives to peacefully protest against the SPDC's economic and political mismanagement. It is time that the EU and the international community send an unequivocal message to the SPDC that their murderous rampage against monks and unarmed civilians is absolutely unacceptable," said Debbie Stothard, coordinator of Altsean-Burma, a regional human rights group.

"The regime is using diplomacy to stave off international pressure while continuing its vicious crackdown against monks and civilians. Tougher sanctions will send a clear message that the EU sees through the regime's subterfuge. Otherwise, European support for democracy and human rights will be dismissed as mere rhetoric and diplomatic posturing.

"The EU has an important opportunity to affect real change in Burma at this time when the SPDC is already economically vulnerable. The junta will have no choice but to commence political dialogue with the democracy movement and ethnic groups if it is hit by targeted economic sanctions," emphasized Ms Stothard.

On September 25, the EU warned the SPDC that it would strengthen sanctions if the military regime resorted to violence against its civilians. The next day, the SPDC launched a violent crackdown on Burmese citizens and members of the Buddhist clergy who had gathered for the ninth consecutive day to protest the military regime's oppressive rule. More than 3,000 monks and civilians have been detained, with the majority still incarcerated. At least 138 protesters have been killed, including many monks and a Japanese photojournalist*.

The SPDC's violent reaction to the protests continues. Kyaukpadaung Township NLD member Ko Win Shwe died as a result of torture during interrogation in Plate Myot Police Center near Mandalay. Those who have been released from various detention centers throughout the country report horrific, overcrowded conditions, with no sanitation, little food and drinking water, and denial of medical treatment. Protesters are being tortured during interrogation and monks have forcibly disrobed. Many have died.

"Now is the time for the EU to put its money where its mouth is. If the Europeans do not have the determination to keep up the pressure, it gives the rest of the world an excuse to backtrack on Burma, as well," stressed Ms Stothard.

ENDS

Enquiries:
Tel +6681 686 1652 / + 6681 850 9008

* Detention figures reported by the Irrawaddy. Deaths reported by Mizzima.