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U.N. Actions on Burma Must Be Scrutinized

October 3, 2007

The people of Burma have long hoped that the United Nations would rescue them from the “world’s worst regime,” which calls itself the State Peace and Development Council (SPDC). Many have lost hope, however, since the world body proved it can do nothing concrete to save them from the current spate of killings by the brutal SPDC.

In the midst of recent killings, the U.N. sent a special envoy, Mr. Ibrahim Gambari, to Burma to ease the situation there. However, the top generals are still playing games with the U.N. official, who said after his first visit to Burma that the regime was ready to “turn a new page.” While Mr. Gambari is circumambulating the country to reconcile the nation, the generals continue killing monks, young students and ordinary citizens, according Burmese media.

The question is “Can the U.N. do anything to save those peaceful people?”

On September 29, Burma Point, the organization I work with in New York, received a report that the U.N. office in Rangoon is utterly powerless and without a voice. We have also receieved similar reports in the past about the office led by Mr. Charles Petrie, the U.N. country coordinator.

The particular report says that people tried calling the hotline numbers provided by the U.N. office on the night of September 28, when they heard that soldiers were approaching monasteries to make arrests. A male employee at the office replied to one of the callers saying he would put it on record and would inform the U.N. When others made calls, an official responded that the office “could not do anything to help”.

It is obvious that monks and lay Burmese are being killed and disappearing, according to our sources. As a matter of fact, even food donors and onlookers are now being arrested, and perhaps tortured. Some have been sent to the infamous Insein Prison without any legal charges by the authorities. And the rest of the country’s peaceful monks have been forced to take off their robes. Many teachers and their students, in their teens, were ordered to kneel down and were summarily slapped by soldiers because they were somehow involved in the movement, said a woman. These actions we uncategorically condemn.

Myint Soe, a former Central Working Committee member of the National League for Democracy, which is led by Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, said that the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) in Rangoon is corrupt. Much of the planned development programs are incomplete.

“Project staff and participants who want to attend workshops or training sessions had to take recommendation letters from the police station and even the Union Solidarity and Development Association (USDA) about whether they had been involved in any criminal cases or political activities,” Soe, now Secretary of National League for Democracy – Liberated Area, explained.

USDA and the police in Burma are, today, the real criminals who have, in violation of international laws, killed hundreds of peaceful monks and people. Should our people continue to get recommendation letters from these departments?

We are very saddened and disappointed that the U.N. continues to stay silent on corruption that exists between its officials and the ruling regime.

We, again, request that the U.N., the world leading organization, protect and stand by its principles stated in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, by raising the loudest voice and taking concrete actions to prevent further killings and torture by the ruling SPDC.

Moe Chan

www.burmapoint.com

646-643-8689

718-396-1464

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