For Immediate Release:
12 October 2007
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
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
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.
Tel +6681 686 1652 / + 6681 850 9008
* Detention figures
reported by the Irrawaddy. Deaths reported by Mizzima.