Thursday, December 04, 2008

Action from UN needed for Burma and Zimbabwe!

Hi Friends,

Burma’s xenophobic dictators do not deserve to be treated with any civility.

ASEAN has tried and failed miserably when it gave the junta “face” by accepting it as a member of this regional grouping. Since then, Burma has been nothing but an embarrassment for ASEAN.

Other than its being in South-east Asia, the junta has nothing else in common with the other governments of ASEAN.

These despots think nothing of killing its own citizens, keeping its opponents in prison for decades and has notoriously kept its most famous citizen, the Nobel Peace Prize winner Aung San Suu Kyi under house arrest for most part of the last 20 years!

Having seen how passive actions such as economic sanctions have failed in extracting any ounce of humanity from these despots , perhaps it is time for an activist United Nations! Time for leaders to do as they please to their own people in the name of "sovereignty" and "principle of non-interference" is over.

Such rights do not apply to inhuman monsters!

Only then will thugs like Zimbabwe’s Mugabe come to their senses and leave the political scene for the good of their own people.

Dr.Huang Shoou Chyuan

WASHINGTON: More than 100 former government leaders wrote to UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon Wednesday asking him to travel to military-ruled Myanmar to secure the release of pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi and other political prisoners.

The prominent figures behind the letter include ex-US presidents George H.W. Bush and Jimmy Carter, former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev, ex-Australian premier John Howard, former French prime minister Lionel Jospin, former Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi and ex-Philippine leaders Fidel Ramos and Corazon Aquino.

"This is an unprecedented outpouring of global support for the people of Burma (Myanmar), and I am pleased that so many have joined me in spotlighting this important issue," said Kjell Magne Bondevik, former Norwegian Prime Minister.

"Today we unite to call on the United Nations to take action - the first step towards achieving national reconciliation in Burma is creating a firm deadline for the release of all political prisoners," said Bondevik, now president of the Oslo Centre for Peace and Human Rights, which together with US-based rights group Freedom Now led the initiative.

The former leaders from more than 50 nations urged Ban to personally travel to Myanmar before the end of the year to secure the release of the military junta's 2,100 political prisoners.

"This is a historic letter from leaders representing every continent and asking the UN chief to personally intervene," Freedom Now's president Jared Genser told AFP.

Last month, more than 100 activists, including members of Aung San Suu Kyi's National League for Democracy and relief workers, journalists, monks and lawyers, were each given harsh sentences of up to 68 years in prison.

Their jailing came in the wake of a crackdown on those involved in protests in mid-2007 that were brutally crushed by the military government.

The letter by the former world leaders recalled that the UN Security Council had on October 11 last year issued a presidential statement urging the early release of all political prisoners in Myanmar.

The United Nations also had set the release of all political prisoners as one of its benchmark goals for 2008.

However, in direct defiance of these demands, the military junta has instead increased the number of political prisoners from 1,200 in June 2007 to over 2,100, the letter stated.

"The Burmese people are counting on the United Nations to take the required action to achieve the breakthrough they desperately need to both restore democracy to their country and address the serious humanitarian and human rights challenges that they face," it said.

It further urged Ban to encourage the Security Council to take "concrete action" if these efforts are not successful by the end of December 2008.

Ban's special envoy Ibrahim Gambari has made four visits to Myanmar since a bloody uprising a year ago but failed to revive a dialogue between detained democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi and the junta.

Ministers from permanent Security Council member states Britain, the United States, France, Russia and China as well as other countries including Myanmar's ASEAN neighbours Indonesia, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam met at the sidelines of the UN summit in September and called on the junta to make "tangible" progress on political reforms ahead of any visit by Ban before year-end.

Ban had made a lightning visit to Myanmar in May after the military rulers came under international fire for not allowing foreign aid into the country following a cyclone that left 138,000 people dead or missing.

The junta relented at the end after the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) said it would act as an aid channel. - AFP/de


tony said...

I don’t know if the U.N. has the political or the economic will to do anything about these two hapless countries. Moreover, the U.N. is just a tool in the hands of the powers that be and helping out Burma and Zimbabwe might not be in their best interests. Otherwise they would have acted long ago. After all, these rogue regimes are not the isolated tyrannies they appear to be but, I suspect, buttressed and, perhaps, even encouraged by the power-wielding forces on this planet. And let’s not forget that the U.N. did nothing to stop the Rwandan massacre and is doing nothing in the Congo right now, in spite of much lip-synching and crocodile tears in the West.

Moreover, with the Mumbai attacks and the Obama/Clinton clique moving shortly into the White House, we can expect a shift in geo-political strategy and the “war on terrorism”. Obama stated two days ago that South Asia is now the main threat to the U.S.!!! That sounds pretty ominous to me, and Condi Rice’s current trip to India and Pakistan is pretty worrisome, no matter what the mainstream media says. Both Colin Powell and Joe Biden have made references to a major crisis as soon as Obama takes over ( which is intriguing. Looks like 2009 is going to be wonderful year for all of us!!!

In this context, what do Burma and Zimbabwe matter? Do they care that, in Zimbabwe, children are eating rats and roots, that hundreds are dying of cholera, that the water supply is no longer working and that the currency has become a joke? Or that in Burma, Kafkaesque prison sentences are dished out at whim to people who simply criticize the State?

Don’t count too much on the United Nations, doc! They only move their asses when it’s in their own interests to do so. Sigh…

nofearSingapore said...

Hi tony,
You are an incorrigible pessimist!
You are making me lose faith in the human race!
Anyway, even if I am a mild pessimist, I still feel that Obama cannot possibly be a worse Pres than Bush!

Yes I must agree with you that my hope in the UN is indeed misplaced-

Yes Rwanda and DRCongo is tragic.

Yes the UN was used by the USA to serve its own ends - when it voted and legitimised the invasion of Iraq.

But Tony, what else is there that we can do except to Hope.

Hope that things will not be so awful ; Hope that one day ( even if not soon) that the human race can get its act together so that evil tyrants don't get away scot-free; that innocent children and women are protected from being the victims of collateral damage of senseless wars.

Excuse me, I am going to dig a hope in the ground and bury my head in it.

Have great day

tony said...

Sorry, Doc, but you got me wrong! To tell you the truth, I’m actually a very optimistic person and enjoy life to the fullest, but I can’t help seeing what I see. I can’t close my eyes to reality, hoping that it will go away. It won’t.

I have a lot of faith in humanity, although it sometimes wavers. In spite of my apparent gloomy outlook, I feel that we are living in exciting times, and that we are at the crossroads of major events that are going to shape the destiny of our planet and that WE CAN DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT. The next few years will be decisive but we cannot afford to close our eyes and then plead ignorance when it’s too late and say that we didn’t know. I have no faith in any government or its lackeys and I believe that we, as individuals, must make a stand. Our future depends on us. This is why I keep banging on these important issues, hoping that they will fall on some attentive ear.

As for Obama being better than Bush, well, you know, I don’t think it makes much difference as to who occupies the White House. Elections are a sham designed to give us the illusion of choice, a choice between two or three interchangeable candidates. No matter who get elected, the State ALWAYS wins.

nofearSingapore said...

Hi tony,
Just watched depressing CNN feature by Christiane Amanpour "Scream Bloody Murder" about failure of world esply UN in preventing genocides:

1.Cambodia - Killing fields
2. Saddam’s murder of Kurds
4.Darfur (Sudan)
5. Sarajevo/Srebenica ( Bosnia)
Every state in the world is selfish ( or self-serving)- no one cares about the Kurds until Saddam attacked oil-rich Kuwait.
Sad but this is the truth

tony said...

Hi Doc!
You may have noticed that there have been calls lately from some leaders, especially Britain’s Gordon Brown and South Africa’s Desmond Tutu, for immediate action in Zimbabwe, even demanding that Mugabe be ousted. In typical fashion, nothing happened. Are they waiting for the cholera epidemic to spread to the neighboring countries?

I don’t wish to be fatalistic or negative, but I think it’s too late for Zimbabwe, no matter what action is taken now. We are virtually seeing a country dying before our eyes. (This is also happening in Haiti where the poor are now eating mud. American and French soldiers are stationed on that island, though no one seems to know what they are doing.)

The thing that astonishes me about Zimbabwe, and most of Africa, is the resignation of its people. So much suffering, so much pain, and yet, no reaction from the people. Look at Greece, one teen gets killed by a cop, and thousands take to the streets. Mind you, I’m not condoning violence, but look at the difference in reaction. What the f… is wrong with Africans? Have they been colonized and ruled for so long by foreigners that they no longer know how to stand up to the State, even when it’s their own corrupt rulers now who are responsible for their calamity? Have Africans become too soft by too much aid and no longer know how to fend for themselves? I despair for Africa, an ancient civilization that somehow can’t come to grips with the 21st. century. In Tanzania, they are killing albinos and cutting them up into pieces for use in magical rites; in the Congo, children are made to work as slaves in gold mines; in Nigeria, children are burnt as “witches”. And I could go on and on. In some countries, like Angola, there is hope, but this is largely due to the Chinese presence there (, but most of Africa is in deep shit. And I really don’t know how they are going to get out of it. Sigh…

(Sorry for the rather long comment, Doc, but I got carried away...)