Sunday, September 30, 2007

BURMA / MYANMAR : Military Junta Cracks down on Protesters & THE CANADIAN CONNECTION

Aung San Suukyi
Elected as leader for Burma but ousted by military Junta - she has been under house arrest for over eleven years- she also received a Nobel Peace Prize

Above: Monks in Burma/ Myanmar lead massive demonstrations against the oppressive anrti-democratic Military Junta

Website Canadian Friends of Burma

By now most people are aware of the massive protests in Burma/ Myanmar led by thousands of Buddhist monks & that the Military Junta has cracked down on the peaceful demonstrations killing hundreds of demonstrators or just citizens who happen to get in the way of the army .The oppression by the Junta over the last twenty years has led to the death of thousands of Burmese people & the destruction of some 3,000 villages as a form of cultural genocide & to make way for strip-mining by mining companies some of which are run by Canadians .

The Canadian investors only concern is the return on their investment , human rights & such are not their concern & this doesn't just apply to the Canadian owners but also to Canadian shareholders & the federal & provincial governments who refuse to insist that Canadian companies operating outside the country should be bound by the same regulations as those operating within our borders . It is difficult to get those in power in our own country to take a vigorous stand against the Junta in Burma & to also chastise & admonish Canadian companies operating in Burma since we are now ruled by the Neocons whose only principle by which they live is that of " Profit" by whatever means available & to hell with concerns over such things as ethics , morality or Human Rights & such so for them it is business as usual . Prime Minister Stephen harper might make a speech about the rights of the people in Burma but will he then back it up with sanctions & force Canadian owned companies to do the right thing - but don't hold your breath -

Here are some video clips about the oppression & protest in Burma:

Jim Carrey-Call to action on Burma and Aung San Suukyi

Silencing Burma
In memory of all those who perished under the rule of the Junta
from The Power of Speech

Burmese army atrocities:
BBC report from Newsnight - June 2005 - details some of the tactics the army in Burma uses against their own people. Concludes with an interview with Labour MP Vera Baird who argues that part of what is going on is a form of slow cultural Genocide-

A Burmese army officer speaks out for the country
( from Democratic Voice Of Burma )

And from the website
Canadian Friends of Burma

Canadian Connection:

Mining Investment

Mining investment provides Burma's military regime with its largest source of legal income and Canadian mining companies are in the thick of it. The Canadian mining company Ivanhoe Mines, which is in a 50/50 joint venture with Burma's ruling junta, operates the biggest foreign mining venture in Burma. In addition, there are about four or five other Canadian junior mining companies doing business in Burma, all of whom inevitably support the regime through their business there. (Click here for list)

CFOB is particularly concerned about the Ivanhoe Mines project called the Monywa Copper Mine. Monywa (pronouned Mo-yu-ah) is a city located in Sagaing Division in the North-West part of Central Burma close to the mine site. Environmental damage is often an outcome of copper mining and the Monywa project is no exception.
The Impact of Mining Investment
Environmental degredation

The Monywa project is an open pit mine, which is the most destructive form of mining. It involves clearing standing vegetation and forests, diverting drainage systems, destabilizing topography which causes mountain collapse, and affecting water tables, loss of topsoil, drainage patterns (irrigation, aquamarine life, etc...). Moreover, once an open pit mine is dug, the area cannot be restored for future use. Ivanhoe Mines conducted their own environmental assessment of the Monywa mine (link)

Canadian Investment in Burma

For the year 2005-2006, CFOB is working on a vigorous campaign to stop all Canadian investment in Burma. At the moment there are several Canadian companies active in Burma, providing the regime with a substantial amount of revenue to purchase weaponry used to brutally supress the people of Burma.

CFOB's postion towards investment in Burma is in accordance to that of Burma's elected MPs from the NCGUB and the NLD, which is that all foreign investment from Burma should be withdrawn until democracy is restored.

CFOB will be working with Canadian NGOs and labour unions to campaign to remove all Canadian investment from BUrma. CFOB will petition all Canadian companies linked to Burma and will lobby the Government of Canada to remove all Canadian investment in Burma, which is linked to Burma's military government.

And check out blog:
ko htike's prosaic collection

also see article(s) on Burma at Human Rights Watch Burma: End Attacks on Protestors, Account for Monks
UN Envoy to Burma Should Press for Concrete Action During His Visit

In its meetings with visiting United Nations envoy Ibrahim Gambari, Burma s military government should pledge to end violence against peaceful protestors, account for hundreds of monks arrested this week, and allow access by independent observers to places of detention, Human Rights Watch said.

Burma s military government has shown contempt for the aspirations of the tens of thousands of people who have bravely taken to the streets demanding change, said Brad Adams, Asia director at Human Rights Watch. But if the government does not cooperate with an envoy sent by the UN Security Council, it risks unprecedented international isolation.

Human Rights Watch urged the government to provide information to Gambari, on the many reported human rights abuses committed during the course of the protests, including:

* An accurate accounting of the number of individuals killed by the security forces. The government has admitted to 10 deaths, but credible reports suggest there have been many more;
* The number of individuals arrested and their whereabouts, including members of the 88 Generation of Students arrested at the beginning of protests in August, members of the opposition National League of Democracy, and other activists; and
* The whereabouts and conditions of the hundreds of monks apparently detained in the morning hours of Thursday, September 27.

Human Rights Watch also called on the government to end its newly imposed restrictions on mobile phones and the internet, which are critical to the dissemination of accurate information about events in Rangoon and elsewhere.

take care,

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