Saturday, November 10, 2007

Burma Crisis Update 11-10-07: Amnesty International on "Grave & Ongoing Human Rights Violations"; Alternate Media Vital to Resistance

Image: An activist holds a poster of pro-democracy opposition leader Aung San Suu Ky during protests in Rangoon (Reuters)

Burma Crisis Update 11-10-07: AI on "Grave & Ongoing Human Rights Violations"; Alternate Media Vital to Resistance

Amnesty International has today written to Myanmar's authorities with a briefing paper outlining grave and ongoing human rights violations committed since the start of September's crackdown.
The briefing comes ahead of next week's visit to Myanmar by the United Nation's Special Rapporteur on human rights Paulo Sergio Pinheiro.
"Widespread arbitrary detentions, hostage taking, beatings and torture in custody and enforced disappearances clearly disprove any claims from the Myanmar Government of a return to normalcy," said Catherine Baber, Amnesty International's Asia-Pacific program director. ...
Amnesty International's key concerns include:
*The continued detention of some 700 political prisoners including at least 15 individuals sentenced to prison terms of up to nine and a half years;
*An official policy of taking family members and friends as "hostages" to force others to turn themselves in;
*Deaths in detention due to severe beatings and other forms of torture;
*Appalling detention conditions including the denial of adequate food, water and sanitary facilities as well as the keeping of detainees in "dog cells";
*Enforced disappearances since the crackdown, including at least 72 individuals whose whereabouts the authorities have failed to account for;
*Failure by the Myanmar authorities to account for the number of people killed during the crackdown;
*Evidence of marksmen atop military trucks and bridges using live ammunition to target individual demonstrators during the crackdown resulting in the death of at least two students and the serious wounding of others;
*Ambulances being denied access to victims on the streets during September's demonstrations and private medial clinics ordered not to treat the injured.
Amnesty International is repeating calls for Myanmar authorities to account for all those killed and those who have disappeared. The authorities must also provide the Special Rapporteur with a full list of all those detained and sentenced since the crackdown as well as full and unrestricted access to all detention facilities and crematoria.
Common Dreams, 11-9-07

For a full copy of the briefing, click here.

International media interest in Burma seems to have cooled down after images of the violent dispersal of pro-democracy demonstrators were splashed on TV screens and newspapers late September. But exiled Burmese journalists are determined to keep the flame going over radio and the Internet.
“While there has not been a united policy (among exiled Burmese all over the world) the struggle is going to continue, and we’re going to keep on reporting until we see a change in the government,” declared Aung Zaw, editor and director of the Chiang Mai-based ‘The Irrawaddy’ magazine, which focuses on Burma. ...
Needless to say, Aung Zaw feels that there is anger and depression among the people in Burma, as well as disappointment over the failure of United Nations envoy Ibrahim Gambari to settle key issues with the government.
Still, the exiled journalists remain gung-ho about the future. Especially with the huge role the Internet played in the recent events, they believe that the government is facing tough days ahead when it comes to gagging the Internet and the ‘army’ of citizen journalists, even if it has tightened control over the web.
“The Internet is the biggest enemy of the government now. The way that citizen reporters partnered with our correspondents and found ways to get the news out is a very encouraging and healthy sign,” said Aung Zaw.
In ‘The Irrawaddy’s’ case alone, the site ( 40 million hits, with over 100,000 unique visitors a month. Then, Aung Zaw related, on the same day when the government shut down the Internet in Burma, a virus also attacked the magazine site. It was a classic case of cyber-attack, he noted.
The popularity of the Internet and the people’s desperation to get the news out were such that, ‘The Irrawaddy’ got over 1,000 images from Burma, in one week in September.
Radio, too, has taken a prominent place in this quest for freedom in recent years.
Lynette Lee Corporal, Burma: Keeping the Flame Alive Over Radio, Internet, Inter Press Service, 11-9-07

Some Burma-Related Words of Power Posts

Burma Crisis Update: An Open Letter to the Executives of Chevron

Burma Crisis Update: Two Weeks Into the Crackdown, China Has Not Tempered the Thugocracy's Hand; Chevron Has Not Even Slapped Its Wrist

Human Rights Update 10-6-07: Chevron, Condoleeza Rice & the Burmese Thugocracy

Human Rights Update: Blackwater, Burma, Darfur & You

Human Rights Watch to Business: "Keeping quiet while monks & other peaceful protesters are murdered & jailed is not ... constructive engagement."

Human Rights Update: Blackwater, Burma, Darfur & You

Hard Rain Journal 9-27-07: Aung San Suu Kyi was Elected in 1990, Al Gore was Elected in 2000 -- Consider What Has Befallen Both Countries Since

Hard Rain Journal 9-27-07: Bush, Ahmadinejad and the Monks of Burma -- Illuminating Contrasts

Human Rights Update 9-24-07: Don't Miss the Multiple Meanings of this Moment in Burma

Human Rights Update 9-23-07: Will You Step Outside & Join the Burmese in 15 Minutes of Prayer?

GS(3) Thunderbolt 9-14-07: In Pakistan, the Dharma Repels an Attack; In Burma, the Dharma Sparks an Uprising

Human Rights Update 6-12-07: Remember Aung San Suu Kyi, Honor Her Sacrifice, Reflect on Your Own Freedom & What You Choose to Do With It

Hard Rain Journal 1-8-07: Human Rights and Environmental Security Update from Burma, Cambodia and Mekong River

Words of Power #24: Lost Symbols, Part One – Aung San Suu Kyi, AQ Khan, & The World Tree

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