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BADA Burma Human Rights Day Statement denouncing the Burma’s military regime

Dear All,

BADA has held the 22nd Annual Burma Human Rights Day (our 10th straight year) last night from 6-10 pm at the Berkeley Fellowship of Uniterian Universalists Hall in Berkeley, CA.  More than 200 attendees have singed on to the following statement. A news story on the event is below and more information about it can be found here: http://www.badasf.org/2010/2010-BHRD.htm.

Thank you all for the support to the struggle of the people in Burma.

Nyunt Than

Burma Human Rights Day Statement
denouncing the Burma’s military regime for 2010 Sham Election in Burma

March 13, 2010

On the anniversary of Burma Human Rights Day, marking the brutal killing of Rangoon Institute of Technology students by the military on March 13, 1988, the Burmese American Democratic Alliance (BADA) strongly condemns the Burma's military regime for the ongoing crisis in Burma and regime’s continued refusal to peacefully resolve the country’s problems caused by the prolonged dictatorship.

With the release of one-sided election laws this week, the regime has once again proven to the international community that its only goal is to hold on to the power while erasing the 1990 election results in which the National League for Democracy (NLD) led by Daw Aung San Suu Kyi won a landslide victory. It is also eliminating the people's beloved leader Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, the NLD and all political opposition in Burma. This action
ignores the sufferings of the people of Burma under military dictatorship. The regime stubbornly resists the will of its people as well as that of the international community.

We completely reject the military regime's 2008 sham constitution, new election laws and planned election in 2010 as unfair, exclusive and most importantly undemocratic. We welcome the strong condemnation and outcry by the United Nations General Secretary, United States, United Kingdom and the growing number of international community against the 2010 sham election.

We firmly believe that the one and only genuine desire of the people of Burma is to honor the results of the general elections held in 1990. We therefore support the NLD Shwegondaing declaration as a way forward to finding the peaceful political solution in Burma. We also believe that military dictatorship itself is a roadblock to the long overdue democracy development and national reconciliation process in Burma.

We denounce the regime's continued detention of Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and all political prisoners in Burma. We continue to fear for her safety and for the well-being of all political prisoners in Burma.

We call upon the United Nations, the United States, the United Kingdom and the international community to do their utmost to take swift and effective measures to secure the safety and release of all political prisoners and to restore the fundamental citizens’ rights for all the people of Burma.


Google News
Myanmar exiles raise awareness in Berkeley

By Matt O'Brien, Contra Costa Times, Walnut Creek, Calif.

Mar. 12--BERKELEY -- Toe Lwin was riding in the back of a pickup truck through Myanmar's rural countryside almost seven years ago when a mob of armed thugs surrounded the vehicle.

He jumped out, ran to the cab and guarded the door protecting the truck's most famous passenger: Aung San Suu Kyi, Nobel Peace laureate and leader of the democratic opposition challenging Myanmar's military regime.

For this, attackers bludgeoned Toe Lwin and left him unconscious in a nearby paddy field. He can still trace three long scars that cross the top of his head. Suu Kyi might have been assassinated, he said, had her driver not raced ahead that night and away from the danger.

The 38-year-old Lwin will be sharing this story and many others -- he was detained 15 times as a dissident political activist in Myanmar, once for almost two years -- in a weekend gathering of Burmese exiles in Berkeley.

Their meeting is timely. This week, the Myanmar government announced it will continue to ban Suu Kyi and thousands of jailed members of her party, the National League for Democracy, from participating in upcoming national elections. It did, however, allow the party to reopen political offices that had been closed since the 2003 attack on Suu Kyi.

Most Myanmar exiles, who still refer to the country by its old name, Burma, believe that Suu Kyi would be the nation's leader if the government allowed her to compete.

"If it was a free and fair election, she would win," said Nyunt Than, an Albany resident

and president of the Burmese American Democratic Alliance. "People love her. But because the constitution is drawn up by the regime, all the opposition is crushed. People have basically given up."

Suu Kyi has been under house arrest for the better part of 20 years. She had been free for about a year and was traveling across the country on an outreach campaign when the crowd attacked her entourage in May 2003. Activists, though they cannot prove it, believe the ambush was premeditated and orchestrated by the government. The army arrested and jailed Suu Kyi, Toe Lwin and numerous other activists after the violence, charging them with inciting it.

"Whenever she is out, courage comes to the people and they rally around her," Lwin said through an interpreter Thursday. "That's why the regime doesn't want to let her out."

After years of organizing Myanmar's youth democracy movement, Lwin, fearing for his life, finally fled the country in 2007, shortly before the mass democracy protest by monks and students that has been dubbed the Saffron Revolution. He moved to San Francisco last year, joining a community of thousands of Myanmar exiles who live in the Bay Area.

A number of those exiles hope to raise awareness for their cause and money for the Myanmar people, both those inside Myanmar and the thousands of refugees at the Thai border, in an event to be held on Saturday.

"Burma used to be the richest country in the region with plenty of resources. Now the middle-class is wiped out," Than said. "They need any kind of help and support we can provide."

Along with Toe Lwin, the speakers include Sein Win, political leader of the exile movement. The event is from 6 to 10 p.m. at the Berkeley Fellowship of Unitarian Universalists Hall, 1924 Cedar St., Berkeley.