The world watches Burma
The government in Burma has come down ruthlessly against the peaceful protests by Buddhist monks and others. Burma is very much in the headlines and the world is watching to see if the so-called State Peace and Development Council can live up to its name or whether it will continue to have an Orwellian ring. (See an earlier entry in my blog about George Orwell.) Rather than having peace and development in mind the government puts about half of its spending into the military. The protests are all about fuel prices according to one article on the internet but of course it goes a lot deeper than that and is about the people of Burma being denied their freedoms and rights. This has been going on for a long time and is especially bad for some of the ethnic groups in the country such as the Karen in the east, near to Thailand. I am reading a book at present about this ongoing struggle and will say more about that another time.
I am pleased to hear news that the UN envoy to Burma was able to meet the opposition leader, Aung San Suu Kyi. She has been imprisoned or under house arrest for years although she was elected as leader of the country so her views are clearly important. There is a possibility that the envoy might be taking a letter from her to the government in an attempt to resolve the crisis. These are just glimmers of hope though in what looks like a grim situation for the people of Burma. (Maybe that should be Myanmar, the official name, but the opposition tend to favour the old name.)
Is there a chance that the government of China will be willing to use its influence on the government of Burma to protect human rights? I am not holding my breath on this one. So far they seem to be saying that it is an internal matter for the government of Burma.
I even read about Burma in our local paper the Shropshire Star, with the headline Democracy denied. The MP for the Wrekin, Mark Pritchard, is on an all-party committee of MPs concerned about Burma and has been sent pictures from Burma of the uprising.
Our blogs are written by Amnesty International staff, volunteers and other interested individuals, to encourage debate around human rights issues. They do not necessarily represent the views of Amnesty International.