New Action Alerts on Burma :)
- Don't Let the World Forget: UN Must Act Now!
Don't Let the World Forget About the Saffron Revolution
Dear james m,
This Wednesday, October 24th, is an important day for Burma. It is:
1) United Nations Day, 2) The day when Aung San Suu Kyi will have
been under house arrest for a total of 12 years, and 3) One month
since the uprisings in Burma were at their peak.
We will be marking this day with a host of actions around the world.
- Several organizations are working together to organize in 12 cities
around the world. At 12 noon, demonstrators dressed in white (as
political prisoners are forced to wear inside Burma) will gather in
front of Chinese embassies. Please let us know if you want to
participate in the demonstration in Washington, DC.
- A group of Burmese monks and exiles have been marching from
Albany, NY to the United Nations in a peace walk. On Wednesday,
please join with them as they continue their march from the Burmese
regime's Mission in New York to the United Nations from 10-11 am. The
Mission is located on 10E and 77th St. For more info, the cell phone
for the peace walk is (518) 605-8506.
- For those of you who cannot participate in these actions we are
asking you to ensure that the American public does not forget Burma.
We are asking you on this day to reinvigorate public attention by
writing an op-ed article for your local newspaper, write a post on
your blog or facebook profile, host a teach in for your friends and
neighbors, or for more suggestions visit our action page
The Burmese regime may be the jailer of Aung San Suu Kyi and
thousands of other prisoners, but China holds the key to her release.
The United Nations Security Council (of which China is a member) must
act urgently as more and more people are being hunted down, arrested
and tortured. China must not block Security Council action. We will
show that we will not allow Burma's regime to hide its abuses from
the world.. The United Nations Security Council needs to pass a
global arms embargo now!
Support 1991 Nobel Peace Prize recipient Aung San Suu Kyi and the
struggle for freedom and democracy in Burma.
Become a member of the United States Campaign for Burma today.
PEN: Freedom to Write Program: MYAN: send an appeal letter
We received this news today about Zargana's release. Thanks to those
of you who wrote letters last week. Please note that, according to
reports, U Par Par Lay is still detained. If you have not yet sent an
appeal letter, please send one on his behalf.
Freedom to Write Program Coordinator
PEN American Center
588 Broadway, Suite 303
New York, NY 10012
(212) 334-1660 ext. 106
From: Sara Whyatt [mailto:Sara.Whyatt@...]
Sent: Thursday, October 18, 2007 9:34 AM
To: Cathy McCann
Subject: MYANMAR (BURMA): Leading comedian and poet Zargana released.
INTERNATIONAL PEN WRITERS IN PRISON COMMITTEE
RAPID ACTION NETWORK
18 October 2007
Update #1 to RAN 36/07
MYANMAR (BURMA): Leading comedian and poet Zargana released.
The Writers in Prison Committee of International PEN welcomes the
release of poet and comedian Zargana, who is said to be well though
exhausted after his three-week detention. Zargana is among many
pro-democracy activists reported to have been arrested in the ongoing
government crackdown in Burma, including fellow comedian U Par Par
who is believed to remain detained. International PEN reiterates its
concern for the safety of Burmese writers and that their works
to be censored. PEN calls for the immediate and unconditional release
all those currently detained in Myanmar in violation of Article 19 of
the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
According to PEN's information, Maung Thura ('Zargana') is a leading
comedian, poet and opposition activist was arrested on 25 September
for his support of the monks demonstrating in the capital, Rangoon.
release was reported on 18 October 2007, although he remains under
surveillance and restriction, as he has been for many years. For
further information see the following link:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/asia-pacific/7050018.stm. Also for an
informative article on his case and on censorship of Burmese writings
general go to
Maung Thura, more commonly known by his nick-name 'Zargana', is
leading comedian, popular for his political satires. Zargana spent
several years in prison in the early 1990s for his opposition
activities. During that time he was taken up as a main case by the
Writers in Prison Committee of International PEN. Zargana, whose
pseudonym means 'tweezers' and refers to his years spent training as a
dentist, was first arrested in October 1988 after making fun of the
government, but freed six months later. However, on 19 May 1990, he
impersonated General Saw Maung, former head of the military
to a crowd of thousands at the Yankin Teacher's Training College
in Rangoon. He was arrested shortly afterwards, and sentenced to five
years in prison. He was held in solitary confinement in a tiny cell in
Rangoon's Insein Prison, where he began writing poetry. One of his
prison poems was published in the International PEN anthology This
Prison Where I Live.
After his release from prison in March 1994, Zargana was banned from
performing in public, but continued to make tapes and videos which
strictly censored by the authorities. In May 1996, after speaking out
against censorship to a foreign journalist, he was banned from
performing his work altogether, and stripped of his freedom to write
Appeals to Myanmar (Burma) Embassies:
While the situation in Burma is still critical, letters sent to the
country may not be received or taken as a priority. It is therefore
recommended that appeals be sent to the diplomatic representative of
Myanmar (Burma) in your own country.
- welcoming the release of writer, comedian and pro-democracy activist
Zargana, but reiterating grave concern for the well-being of other
writers still detained in Burma, including comedian U Par Par Lay;
- demanding the immediate and unconditional release of all those
currently detained in Myanmar in violation of Article 19 of the United
Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
Letters to the press
PEN members may consider writing letters to their national newspapers
expressing alarm at events in Burma, and highlighting Zargana's case
illustrate the many years of repression in the country.
For further information please contact Cathy McCann at International
Writers in Prison Committee, Brownlow House, 50/51 High Holborn,
WC1V 6ER, Tel.+ 44 (0) 20 7405 0338, Fax: +44 (0) 20 7405 0339, email:
Writers in Prison Committee
50/51 High Holborn
London WC1V 6ER
Tel: + 44 (0) 20 7405 0338
Fax: + ff (0) 20 7405 0339
Help Us Tell the UN Sec. General to Demand End to Torture in Burma
Ban Ki-moon: Telephone The Burmese Regime Today to Demand End to
Torture in Burma
The military continues to hunt down those who have participated in
demonstrations. We are calling on you to take a few moments today to
of the global voice calling for an end to the abuse of monks and
This past weekend the military captured 4 promiment democracy
including Htay Kywe, one of the last remaining leaders of the 88
Generation that had not been captured. The 88 Student Generation has
the forefront of organizing protests, with the courage to stand up
ruthless and brutal regime no matter the cost. Htay Kywe had evaded
until now. During the past two months, he was vital in educating
about what was happening inside Burma. We are deeply concerned
health and safety.
Also arrested was Mee Mee, whose picture with her fist in the air,
become an iconic symbol of the Burmese people during the protests in
August and September (as seen above). We fear for her and the
will most likely endure, as a political prisoner and as a woman.
The few remaining members of the 88 Student Generation have already
letter to Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon urging him to take action to
prisoners, and stop arrests, and we must support their call.
It is more than just these arrests that concern us. Thousands of
civilians have been arrested in the past 2 weeks and we are receiving
disturbing reports about the treatment of these prisoners. Torture,
medical treatment and food, disrobing monks, and even death are
occurrences for those imprisoned. We are deeply concerned for the
those imprisoned. Many activists have serious medical problems
their previous imprisonments. For a list of monasteries raided,
arrested, disappeared, and killed, go to the AAPP website
Association for the Political Prisoners of Burma) www.aappb.org .
Please just take a few moments today to send an email to UN Secretary
General Ban Ki-Moon, urging him to take more concrete measures to
that the brutal treatment of prisoners stops. He needs to pick up the
today and demand from the Burmese Generals that the arrests and
political prisoners stops. He must make it a personal priority to
Burma's generals, to demand that the International Committee for
Cross (ICRC) or other organizations can at least have access to the
prisoners and to push for the release of all political prisoners.
Support 1991 Nobel Peace Prize recipient Aung San Suu Kyi and the
for freedom and democracy in Burma.
Become a member of the United States Campaign for Burma today.
F.O.E.I.: [Cyberaction] Support Burmese protesters
[Cyberaction] Support Burmese protesters
The world is watching as the people of Burma are struggling against
In the Philippines, workers shaved their heads in a gesture of
with the Burmese Buddhist monks, who are bearing the brunt of the
As environmentalists, we should all be concerned and take action to
the monks who were demonstrating against rising fuel and food prices
left many in Burma without access to public transport and unable to
Please take a minute to sign the petition that will be sent to the
asking them to take urgent action to safeguard the rights of the
Please spread the word, pass this message on to everyone you know and
encourage them to do the same.
Thanks for your support.
Friends of the Earth International
Cyberaction mailing list
H.R.W.: Burma: Foreign Investment Finances Regime
Burma: Foreign Investment Finances Regime
Companies Should Condemn Crackdown
(New York, October 2, 2007) - Chinese, Indian, Thai, and other
companies doing business in Burma should ensure their operations do
contribute to or benefit from human rights abuses, Human Rights Watch
said today. The military government in Burma has launched a violent
crackdown on peaceful demonstrators that so far has led to many
enforced disappearances, and mass arbitrary arrests.
"Companies doing business in Burma argue their presence is
and will benefit the Burmese people, but they have yet to condemn the
government's abuses against its own citizens," said Arvind Ganesan,
director of the Business and Human Rights Program at Human Rights
Watch. "Keeping quiet while monks and other peaceful protesters are
murdered and jailed is not evidence of constructive engagement."
Human Rights Watch said that companies operating in Burma should use
their influence with the ruling State Peace and Development Council
(SPDC) to put an end to ongoing human rights abuses. In the current
environment, companies should urge the SPDC to halt the crackdown,
release all political prisoners, and open a real dialogue with
and ethnic groups. If the situation does not improve, companies should
be prepared to reconsider their operations in the country.
Human Rights Watch said that there is no transparency in Burma about
how much the government receives in oil and gas payments, nor clarity
about how the funds are spent. The military receives the largest
the official budget and the SPDC allocates only a pittance to social
programs including health and education.
Foreign investment in Burma's oil and natural gas sector is especially
significant. Sales of natural gas account for the single largest
revenue to the military government. Gas exports accounted for fully
of the country's exports in 2006. Burma's gas business brought in
revenue of US$2.16 billion in 2006 from sales to its main buyer,
Thailand. These funds flow directly to the government and provide the
junta with a major source of financing that is completely independent
Current investors in Burma's oil and gas industry include companies
from Australia, the British Virgin Islands, China, France, India,
Malaysia, Singapore, South Korea, Thailand, Russia, and the United
The SPDC has greatly expanded investment in Burma's oil and natural
gas industry in recent years. Allowing foreign investment in oil and
is apparently aimed at bringing in more revenue to keep the government
afloat at a time when economic mismanagement and profligate spending
on the military and the building of a new capital at Nay Pyi Taw have
drained government finances. Natural gas exploration, development and
production projects are under way in approximately 30 different gas
fields. These projects are organized as joint ventures with the
government's Myanmar Oil and Gas Enterprise (MOGE).
"Outside investment in Burma's oil and gas industry has thrown a
to the country's brutal rulers," added Ganesan. "The businesses that
finance the military shouldn't argue that the government's crackdown
not their problem."
Details of the Deals
At present the SPDC receives the bulk of its gas money from the
"Yadana" and "Yetagun" gas fields. The Yadana consortium is led by
Total of France and includes UNOCAL (now Chevron) of the United
States and Thailand's state-controlled PTT Exploration and Production
Co Ltd (PTTEP). The Yetagun consortium, led by Malaysia's state-
owned Petronas, includes Japan's Nippon Oil as well as PTTEP. PTTEP,
a subsidiary of the largely state-owned PTT Public Co Ltd (PTT) of
Thailand, buys the gas for export to Thailand.
Major offshore natural gas projects are under development. A
of South Korean and Indian firms, in partnership with the Myanmar Oil
and Gas Enterprise, has made a large gas find off the coast of Arakan
State in western Burma. Known as the "Shwe" gas project, it is
to produce massive revenues once it is in production. Estimates of the
gas yield of the Shwe deposits range between US$37 to US$52 billion,
and could lead to a total gain in revenues to the junta or future
governments of US$12 to US$17 billion over 20 years.
The Shwe gas consortium is composed of the South Korean company
Daewoo International, state-owned companies from India and South
Korea, and the Myanmar Oil and Gas Enterprise. Some of the foreign
partners also have separate deals with the Burmese government entity
On September 24, for example, India's state-controlled Oil and Natural
Gas Co (ONGC), whose subsidiary ONGC Videsh is a partner in the
Shwe consortium, signed a deal with Myanmar Oil and Gas Enterprise to
explore for gas in three more offshore blocks. Under the deal, Oil and
Natural Gas Co pledged to invest US$150 million through ONGC
India's Office of the President holds nearly 75 percent of the shares
Oil and Natural Gas Co. India's minister for oil, Murli Deora,
the Burmese capital last week to sign the agreement as thousands of
protesters in Burma took to the streets to call for political
end to the SPDC's abuses, and economic improvements.
India, like China and Russia - which are also major investors in
natural gas sector - has provided political and military support to
SPDC. India and China are in competition to buy the Shwe gas. In
August, a top Burmese energy official publicly confirmed that China
strongly favored to buy the gas, but indicated that a sales agreement
not yet final.
Chinese firms are also actively seeking to build oil and gas
Burma. One proposed pipeline would transport gas from the offshore
Shwe project to China. A second pipeline would carry Middle Eastern
across Burma into China, bypassing the busy shipping lanes of the
of Malacca. These proposals to build overland pipelines across Burma
have raised serious human rights concerns, in light of past
Major controversies arose in the 1990s over construction of pipelines
associated infrastructure to transport Yadana-Yetagun gas. UNOCAL
and Total were sued in the US and France, respectively, by Burmese
villagers who accused them of complicity in atrocities by the Burmese
army during operations to remove villagers from areas slated for
development and to facilitate pipeline construction. The companies
ultimately settled the lawsuits.
Two Chinese companies that have shown strong interest in the proposed
new Burma-China pipeline projects are Sinopec and China National
Petroleum Corporation (CNPC). Both are Chinese state-owned oil
companies and are involved in gas exploration in Burma as well. They
also are official "partners" (major sponsors) of the 2008 Olympics in
Beijing and are under increased scrutiny for the human-rights impact
their investments in Sudan and Burma.
India and China have been reluctant to criticize the recent crackdown.
Russia joined China in blocking UN Security Council action on Burma.
In addition to foreign investors (both state-owned and private), the
companies doing business with Burma include banks that arrange
financial transactions and companies that import products from Burma.
For example, timber exports to China have been substantial. The SPDC
also draws significant revenue from sales of gems, notably rubies and
jade. These gems are polished in third countries and then find their
to retail stores in Europe and the US, where sanctions permit imports
Burmese-origin goods that are processed in third countries.
The US has imposed new financial sanctions, intended to target
accounts of Burmese generals, and some European leaders have called
for additional, targeted sanctions if the SPDC fails to halt its
repression of dissent.
"The junta's largest trading partners should insist that Burma's
stop stuffing their own pockets and instead use these immense revenues
to improve the lives of ordinary Burmese," said Ganesan.
For more of Human Rights Watch's work on Burma, please visit:
Please help support the research that made this bulletin possible. In
to protect our objectivity, Human Rights Watch does not accept funding
any government. We depend entirely on the generosity of people like
To make a contribution, please visit http://hrw.kintera.org/donate3
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A.I.: Stand with the monks in Burma
Stand with the monks in Burma
Dear james m,
I'm sure you've seen the inspiring - and terrifying - pictures of red-
monks facing down heavily armed military police in the streets of
(Myanmar) this past week.
Their courage in the face of brutal repression - in the fight for
rights - is what Amnesty International is all about. While you and I
far away from Burma, we can help the brave pro-democracy forces there
through our support of Amnesty International.
As I write this, Amnesty activists in more than 20 countries are
in demonstrations and meetings with government leaders, designed to
the military rulers of Burma, and its key allies China and India, to
the violence and restore human rights. Amnesty has been working on
decades to free hundreds of pro-democracy activists, including Nobel
laureate Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, from long prison sentences for nothing
than acts of peaceful dissent.
Now is the time for you to make an additional gift to Amnesty
USA to show your solidarity with the people of Burma - and the people
dozens of other countries whose human rights are being trampled upon.
As we end our Fall membership drive at midnight tonight, please make
to Amnesty International to help us keep up international pressure on
brutal military regime in Burma.
Please join us in standing side by side with the peaceful red-robed
for democracy and human rights.
Amnesty International USA
© Copyright 2007Amnesty International USA5 Penn PlazaNew York, NY
Other linx for Burma :)
Myanmar: Time for Urgent Action - New Crisis Group media release
Contacts: Andrew Stroehlein (Brussels) 32 (0) 2 541 1635
Giulia Previti (Washington) 1 202 785 1601
To contact Crisis Group media please click here
WITNESS: Stand with Burma's Brave Citizens - Demand UN Security
Get Involved in the Struggle to Free Burma :)