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Burma : Nobel Laureate Appeal


Statement: Nobel Laureate Appeal

Tue 19 Feb 2008

Filed under: News, Statement


The peaceful, nonviolent marches by the Burmese Buddhist monks in 2007 asking for peace and dialogue towards a political settlement of the problems confronting that country galvanized the attention of the international community. They marched to support the lay population who publicly and bravely protested grievances against the regime. We watched in horror as their peaceful overtures were met with a violent crackdown by Burma’s military junta lead by General Than Shwe. The subsequent dragnet he ordered has resulted in arrests, torture and killings that continue to his very day.

In spite of the overwhelming desire of the Burmese people for political change the regime has made no overtures and no progress on national reconciliation. They continue their refusal to engage the Burmese people and ethnic groups in substantive, meaningful dialogue. We stand firmly in support of our fellow Nobel Laureate Aung San Suu Kyi and have repeatedly call for her release, as well as the release of Buddhist monks and all political prisoners in Burma. The regime’s “roadmap” and decades-long constitution process is flawed: it does not include participation of the National League for Democracy. The NLD and Burma’s ethnic nationalities must play an inclusive role in determining a negotiated settlement and transition to democracy.

We can not, and we will not, forget the events of the Saffron Revolution and the courage of the Burmese people in asserting their right to live in peace and freedom. Despite decades of repression and in a world wracked by violence, their peaceful demonstrations represent a model for the proper and rightful expression of political dissent of which they are entitled.

Many of the arms used by Burma’s military regime to retain its hold on power have been sold to the regime by foreign governments. This is not acceptable – no nation should sell arms to a regime that uses weapons exclusively against its own people. We call upon the international community to actively work to implement arms embargoes against the regime. Further, we appeal to the members of the Security Council, and the international community, to take action quickly on measures that will prevent the sale of arms to the Burmese military, including a ban on banking transactions targeting top Burmese leaders, as well as state and private entities that support the government’s weapons trade.

– Archbishop Desmond M. Tutu and
– His Holiness the Dalai Lama
– Shirin Ebadi
– Adolfo Perez Esquivel
– Mairead Maguire Rugoberta Menchu Tum
– Prof. Elie Wiesel
– Betty Williams
– Jody Williams


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