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Massive Flight of Refugees from Burma Activists Call for Immediate United States Action, End to Crimes Against Humanity (click to view PDF)

U.S. Campaign for Burma
For Immediate Release, August 28th, 2009
Contact: Jeremy Woodrum, 202-246-7924

(Washington, DC) A leading U.S based human rights group today called on the United States to lead action at the UN Security Council to stop attacks on ethnic minorities in Burma that have led to the flight of 30,000 refugees from Burma to China in recent days.

“This is the largest refugee flow from Burma in years,” said Aung Din, Executive Director of U.S. Campaign for Burma. “The United States should immediately press the United Nations Security Council to intervene to stop the fighting, and if they don’t, it is going to get much worse. Burma’s regime is going to crush all ethnic minorities who do not submit to their rule and civilians are going to pay a very heavy price. The UN must pressure the regime to stop the violence and start negotiating with democracy forces led by Aung San Suu Kyi, and ethnic representatives for a peaceful solution.”

The cause of the conflict is linked directly to the Burmese military regime’s new constitution, which aims to force all ethnic minorities in Burma to submit to military rule. “We have been saying for some time that the new constitution is a recipe for war and instability and since the international community has shamefully ignored the situation, now that is coming true,” added Aung Din. The office of the United Nations High Commission for Refugees has estimated that 30,000 people have fled from Burma this month. Yet, to date, Western governments have largely remained silent on the matter.

The attacks come after a new report commissioned by five of the world’s leading judges and jurists and written by the International Human Rights Clinic at Harvard Law School, which compiled documentation from existing United Nations documents showing that Burma’s military regime is likely committing war crimes and crimes against humanity. The military regime has destroyed or forced the abandonment of as many villages as in the Darfur region of Sudan – yet, the international community has not yet pursued action on the crimes. The commissioners included judges who had earlier served at the International Criminal Tribunals on Rwanda and Yugoslavia and who now are calling for the UN Security Council to establish an official inquiry into crimes against humanity and war crimes in Burma.


At the same time, the governments of the United Kingdom and France have called for a global arms embargo on Burma’s military regime.

The attacks by the military regime are just beginning. The regime seeks to stop all ethnic resistance in areas inhabited by millions of people before elections scheduled for 2010. “As long as the world sits on its hands, this is only going to grow much, much worse,” added Aung Din. 

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