Even if you read the international news regularly, chances are that you haven’t paid a whole lot attention to Burma, now known as Myanmar. For those of you who don’t know much about Burma, it is a country in Southeast Asia, which has been under military control since 1962 and which has been widely criticized for its human rights violations, including the continued house arrest of Nobel Peace Prize laureate Aung San Suu Kyi.
In case you’ve missed the news on Burma, here’s a rundown of what’s been happening in that country (as summarized in the Human Rights Watch report):
Burma’s military rulers continue to be responsible for widespread human rights violations, including a brutal crackdown of protests against the government’s poor economic management. Demonstrations against sharply increased commodity prices, including a 500% increase in energy prices, began in mid-August, with over 150 pro-democracy activists arrested by Burma’s military junta. These events follow a number of small protests that have occurred since the start of 2007, predominantly because of high inflation, low electricity supply, and poor access to education and health care. The government has increasingly used violence against the peaceful protests and has arbitrarily arrested noted dissidents. There are over 1,100 political prisoners in Burma.
Military offensives against ethnic minorities continue to target civilian populations, with over half a million people internally displaced and thousands driven across borders to seek refuge as a result of conflict, heavy militarization of civilian areas, and serious rights abuses. The International Committee of the Red Cross made a public statement on June 29, 2007, stating their concern over widespread violations of international humanitarian law in ethnic minority areas of Burma.
If you have 1.21 minutes, please check out a video by Jim Carrey:
If you have more time and want to know more about the ethnic cleansing and other human rights abuses in Burma, please check out the following video (48.45 minutes–I know it’s long, but it’s worth your time if you’re interested in the topic).
Well, I hope you learned something new today!