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The rules of the game haven't changed after all

Were expecting over 200 people at our demo outside the Burmese embassy in London today. Its at 12.00 noon at 19a Charles Street, Mayfair, London W1. There are other demos from Amnesty sections all over the world today.

Our messages are pretty clear: the right to protest must be respected; there must be no bloodbath like in 1988; and the UN Security Council should send an urgent mission to inform itself of the situation on the ground. Whats also pretty clear is that China and India hold the key they are the trading partners that the Burmese generals will listen to. Interesting that, like Darfur, Chinas economic might is making it increasingly-important diplomatically.

Half the office is going down there. Sadly Neil and I are stuck in the office were having to stop ourselves getting caught up in the rolling news from Burma, to keep working on a big campaign thats been in the pipeline for months and will launch on 9 October at a Birmingham press event.

The new campaign will all be about mobilising people against human rights abuses in the War on Terror and there were some welcome words from the government on this issue last night at a party conference event. Security minister Tony McNulty rowed-back from Tony Blairs famous statement that the rules of the game have changed since 9/11 and conceded that the rules basic human rights standards and civil liberties in fact havent changed at all.

It remains to be seen whether this will be backed-up with action when Jacqui Smith addresses conference today though. The Guardians trail and Jack Straws 8.15 Today Programme interview indicate that the focus will be on so-called have-a-go heroes. I just hope that McNultys liberal language isnt intended to soften us up for another proposed extension of pre-charge detention.

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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.
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