To: United Nations
To: His Excellency Ban Ki-Moon
Secretary-General of the United Nations
New York, New York 10017
CC: Representatives of the United Nations Security Council
In 2007, monks and civilians took to Burma's streets demanding change, and were met with violence and intimidation. Thousands of monks have been arrested, tortured, or 'disappeared' by the ruling military junta. On August 8, 2008, China will celebrate the opening ceremony of the Beijing olympics - 20 years to the day that the Burmese military gunned down over 3,000 peaceful protesters in streets of Burma. As a symbol of peace and cooperation, it is ironic that the olympics will begin on such a tragic anniversary, when the people of Burma have had no chance to participate in the peaceful development enjoyed by China and other nations of the world.
An estimated 650,000 people have been displaced in Burma and 3,000 villages have been destroyed by the government. The military junta routinely commits human rights abuses such as forced labor, forced recruitment of child soldiers, land confiscations, and rape as a weapon of war. Ethnic minorities are targeted for assimilation and violence.
Burma has one of the world's largest militaries, but this force is only used against its own people. Still, Burma's neighbors continue to sell the SPDC weapons that perpetuate this violence, and continue to push development projects that will result in further human rights abuses. As the junta is preparing to consolidate its power through a new constitution and referendum that has been widely denounced by opposition groups, it is imperative that action be taken immediately to enact true democratic progress and national reconciliation in Burma.
We call on the SPDC to take the following steps:
1. Allow freedom of speech and respect the human rights of all Burma's citizens.
2. Release all political prisoners.
3. Cease fighting with ethnic minority groups along the border as well as all aggressive military activities in current ceasefire areas.
4. Transition to a civilian government and the democratically elected parties of the 1990 elections.
We urge the United Nations Security Council and all member countries of the United Nations to take the following steps to protect the people of Burma:
1. Impose a universal arms embargo on the Burmese military junta.
2. Impose sanctions on the financial transactions of Burma's ruling military elite.
3. Recognize the genocide being committed against Burma's ethnic minorities and take all necessary steps to save the lives of targeted civilians.
4. Hold the ruling military generals accountable for their crimes against humanity.
We are calling on the members of the United Nations to make peaceful political change and reconciliation in Burma a priority, and to take all necessary steps to protect the people of Burma from the oppression and violence of the military junta.