Don't Forget 1988: Stand Up for Justice in Burma
For the past 23 years August 8th has stood as an important date to commemorate the people of Burma's courageous struggle against the military regime. In 1988, Burma's students led the way and helped grow a movement for democratic change that spread around the country, with people of all walks of life joining in. 8.8.88 was the rallying date for people to go on strike and take to the streets in mass to declare an end to the dictatorship of General Ne Win.
On that day people implored troops to join the protests, and some did, but General Ne Win gave the order to open fire on the crowds. Troops continued their brutal actions against the peaceful protestors, and as many as 10,000 people were killed in just a few days.
For the past 23 years, this day is held in special regard in rememberance of those who have perished trying to bring freedom to their country, as well as remember the spirit of the struggle. Even if there are not large scale protests happening in the streets of Burma, the people of Burma still resist the military's dominance in various ways every day.
At a commemorative ceremony in Rangoon today Daw Aung San Suu Kyi said "I would like you all to think about what has happened and not forget." See photos from the event here. And judging from the myriad of events happening in Burma and around the world today, people have not forgotten.
Something that has not changed since 1988 is the culture of impunity in Burma, where the military can commit any sort of atrocities against the people and not be held accountable. The military regime continues to commit crimes against humanity against civilians, and get away with it. There are ongoing and frequent reports of forced labor, forced displacement, extrajudicial killings and sexual violence. These crimes are well documented and yet the international community has to do more than simply issue statements.
We need President Obama and Secretary of State Clinton to show that justice in Burma is a key international issue, and turn their words into action. The United Nations needs to set up an international commission of inquiry to investigate crimes against humanity in Burma. Please sign this petition today to stand up for those who have sacrificed their lives for freedom and justice in Burma.
The U.S. Campaign for Burma Team