The last Sunday of the month
In the Plaza Mayor (next to the horse statue) at 12:00 noon
Women in Black
to a vigil in black and in silence
25 October 2009
FOR HUMAN RIGHTS IN BURMA
For the liberation of the persons imprisoned for their ideas
and for the restoration of democracy.
For an end to forced labor
For ethnic rights and the right to live in peace
For the end of economic support given by the European and North American multinationals to the military junta of Burma
“Use your liberty to promote ours.”
Aung San Suu Kyi
Let us expel war and violence
and from our lives
C/ San Cosme y San Damián, Nº 24, 2º
28012 - Madrid
“How fragile must be the order and the law that considers the political rights of a woman to express herself might put anything in danger.”
BURMA, A COUNTRY WHERE EVEN LAUGHTER IS IMPRISONED
This country, also known as Myanmar, suffers a military dictatorship that has been changing governors since 1962. In the first elections of 1990 the LND (National League for Democracy) won, but the military junta did not accept this change and pursued and arrested numerous persons of the opposition. One of them is Aung San Suu Kyi, leader of the LND and recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize in 1991. Despite all this, she has been under arrest for 19 years, towards the last in her own home, with no possibility of presenting herself for the upcoming elections. In addition, among others who have been imprisoned is Min Ko Naing, internationally recognized for his defense of human rights.
Women who are activists for peace have played an important role in the demonstrations and marches. Many of them have become clandestine owing to the frequent roundups in their homes, and several of them have been jailed.
More than 1400 individuals remain in jail because of their political ideas.
There are 1,000,000 internally displaced persons and another million who are refugees or in exile; 80% of these are women and children.
The successive popular non-violent demonstrations have been severely repressed, such as the student uprising in 1988 or, more recently, in 2007, the so-called saffron revolution, promoted by Buddhist monks.
The military enslave, torture and kill. They can imprison people for singing prohibited songs, for having a fax or for receiving a foreigner into their home. The fields are frequently mined to terrorize the people and often children are used to distribute the mines.
Repression attacks ethnic and religious minorities. One group of the military, the battalion of violators, carries out massive rapes of the women belonging to these minorities. Young girls are kidnapped for prostitution. The women of the Shan and Karen minorities have denounced this situation.
Who maintains this dictatorship?
-More than 40% of the national budget of Burma goes to military expenses.
-Countries like China, Russia and Serbia are accused of providing weapons to the military regime.
-Other governments with an interest in the nuclear program of the area support the regime, through action or omission.
-Although the European Union and the United States have declared an embargo of arms and financial services to Burma, 440 foreign enterprises operate in the country, lending great economic support to the dictatorship. Included among these are the multinationals Air France, Alcatel, American Express, Axel Springer, Caterpillar, Credit Agricole, Daewoo, Deutsche Bank, DHL, Fuji, General Motors, ClaxoSmithKline, Hyundai, Lufthansa, Nestle, Oracle, Siemens, Suzuki, Swatch, Unocal or Total. Some of these companies have been accused of using forced labor.
-In sum, the French petrol company and the U.S company Chevron-Texaco support the Junta with $450 million a year.
-The Yadana oil pipeline in which these companies are involved, is being used to launder drug money.
(Data obtained from Amnesty International, Cooperantesblog, National Federation of Human Rights, various journalists and the book “Burma, the Voice of Women”.)
“How insubstantial must be the peace and harmony in a country where peaceful and popular demonstrations turn into a panic bath.”
Aung San Suu Kyi
Women in Black Madrid – 25 october 2009
Traslater Trisha Novak USA