Friday, March 16, 2012

US Campaign for Burma Join Refugees

Join the Refugees from Burma:
Tell Ambassador Mitchell to Help Protect Ethnic Civilians

Refugees from Burma are now exercising their rights and are speaking out on behalf of their friends and family who are left behind. In solidarity with them, will you sign this petition?

So far, 4,000 signatures from ethnic Karen, Kachin, Chin and Karenni resettled in the United States have signed the petition urging Ambassador Mitchell to use his position as the US Special Representative and Policy Coordinator for Burma to push the Burmese regime and international community to “pay more attention to the plight of the ethnic people of Burma.” Add your signature to strengthen the call when we deliver the petition to Ambassador Mitchell next week, March 22, 2012.

While these resettled refugees are grateful for the generosity of the U.S. government for the resettlement program, the ethnic people of Burma also want to exercise their rights by expressing their concerns for their relatives, friends or the people they know who are left behind, who are still displaced at the hiding areas, who are still subjected to human rights abuses and mass atrocities in ethnic areas of Burma.

Since Burma’s military regime put on the veneer of civilian government earlier last year, Thein Sein has shown an interest in engagement with the United States. In an effort to exhibit his interest in a better relationship with the United States, he agreed to a key issue for the United States by meeting with Aung San Suu Kyi once, releasing some political prisoners conditionally, amending the political party registration law to allow former political prisoners to be part of a political party and participate in elections and signed preliminary peace agreement with a few ethnic armed groups.

Unfortunately, Thein Sein has not changed the Burmese army's actions against the country's ethnic minority civilians. The Burmese regime signed preliminary ceasefire agreement with several different armed groups while fighting heavily with Kachin Independent Army. These ceasefire agreements do not guarantee safety for the civilians. Instead, the Burmese troops use the opportunity to transport their rations and ammunitions to their front line bases located in the ethnic minority areas. Widespread human rights abuses like including forced labor, torture, human shield, rape, porter and property confiscation are still going on.
Click here for more information on human rights abuses.

Thus, on behalf of the people who are left behind, this petition also reminds Ambassador Mitchell that the international community also has the responsibility to protect civilians and end crimes against humanity in Burma.

We urge you to sign the petition to Ambassador Mitchell telling him that he must prioritize seeking an end to the Burmese Regime's systematic and widespread use of rape as a weapon of war, forced labor, forced relocation, torture, extrajudicial killings, child soldiers and use of human shields and the immediate and unconditional release of all political prisoners. Most importantly, the attacks against the Kachin must stop, the US must provide immediate assistance to the displaced Kachin and the Burmese regime must give humanitarian access for those who have been waiting for aid.

Instruction: If you are from Burma, please identity your ethnicity by selecting the dropdown box. The petition is open you everyone. If you are not from Burma, you can choose other for your ethnic group.

In gratitude,

Myra and USCB Team

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