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August 2009

Burma Action Ireland Condemns Outrageous and Unjust Conviction of Aung San Suu Kyi

Minister for Foreign Affairs Condemns the Conviction of Aung San Suu Kyi

Dublin's Lord Mayor to open Book of Solidarity for Aung San Suu Kyi

Burma Action Ireland welcomes Book of Solidarity for Aung San Suu Kyi

July 2009

Aung San Suu Kyi receives Ambassador of Conscience Award

U2 raising the profile of ASSK at their Croke Park concerts

Ger Fitzgerald sponsored walk for Burma

Ger Fitzgerald sponsored walk for Burma - update 1

Ger Fitzgerald sponsored walk for Burma - update 2

June 2009

Aung San Suu Kyi spends yet another birthday in detention

Free Burma's Political Prisoners Campaign Petition submitted to UN

May 2009

Outrageous and Unjust Charge to be Brought Against Aung San Suu Kyi by Burmese Generals

March 2009

Free Burmas Political Prisoners Now!

International Court Condemns Burma Junta for its Illegal and Grotesque Record on Detention

UN Declares Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Aung San Suu Kyi of Burmas Detention Illegal

February 2009

Report calls for Burmas Leaders to be Investigated for Human Rights Abuses over Nargis Response

January 2009

Minister for Foreign Affairs Welcomes Burma Parliamentary Congress to Ireland

December 2008

Letter with 112 signatories sent to Ban Ki Moon

Oslo Centre for peace and human rights and freedom now. Letter signed by 112 former presidents and prime-ministers to the UN Secretary General urging him to press for the release of all political prisoners in Burma by the end of 2008.

Read the letter in PDF format

No Celebration of Human Rights in Burma

November 2008

Media Release from European Parliamentary Caucus on Burma

Minister for Foreign Affairs Condemns sentancing

Burma Prison Sentances - Ban Ki-moon and Security Council Must Act

October 2008

Aung San Suu Kyi - 13 Years in Detention

Minister for Foreign Affairs calls upon the United Nations to take the lead role in confronting global challenges

Day of Action for Burma: The Saffron Revolution - One Year On

6 May 2008

Burma Action Ireland – Inaction by junta will throw the cyclone-hit region into further chaos

Burma Action Ireland (BAI) has today (Tuesday 6 May 2008) expressed its concern that Burma's military regime (the State Peace and Development Council – SPDC), will not be proactive and decisive in ensuring humanitarian aid reaches those who have been affected by this weekend's cyclone.

Cyclone "Nargis" has hit Burma, devastating the country's largest city, Rangoon, and causing widespread damage to many parts of the country. A state of emergency has been declared in major rice producing regions like Irrawaddy, Pegu and Rangoon Divisions and Mon and Karen States. An estimated 10,000 people are believed to have lost their lives.

Eileen Seymour, Chairperson of BAI said: 'Welcome aid and assistance has been promised by UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and other international organisations, and is there to be accessed by the military. But we are anxious that the regime, over the coming days, will react lethargically to the situation and will not facilitate the prompt delivery of aid to those who need it. The ruling junta places severe restrictions on the UN and international aid agencies delivering humanitarian assistance in Burma.

Eileen Seymour continued: 'BAI therefore calls on governments and international humanitarian organisations to ensure that the Burmese junta permits access to the areas damaged by the cyclone and allows all available humanitarian assistance to be delivered to the people who need it. The situation on the ground will need to be constantly monitored.'

BAI welcomed the EU's pledged €2 million support for the disaster relief.

BAI has also expressed its concern that amid this disaster for the region, a proposed referendum on a new constitution may go ahead as planned in Burma this Saturday 10 May.

On 9 February 2008 the SPDC announced that it would hold this referendum on a new constitution on 10 May next, and general elections in the country in 2010.

The referendum on 10 May will be the first balloting in Burma since 1990, when the National League for Democracy party (NLD) led by its General Secretary, Aung San Suu Kyi, won a landslide victory that was never recognised by the junta.

The draft constitution enshrines military rule, giving 25% of the seats to the Burmese military. It also gives the military effective veto power over decisions made by Parliament.

Excluded from the constitution drafting process were many of the 1990 election winning parties including the NLD that won over 80% of the seats.

Burmese opposition groups, foreign governments and international organisations have denounced the planned referendum. Pro-democracy activists have called on the Burmese people to vote against the constitution, with some advocating sabotage or a boycott of the referendum, while the military government has been widely campaigning for a “Yes†vote.

Editor's note:
Bordering Thailand and China, Burma, with a population of 53 million, has one of the world's worst human rights records. The SPDC has been charged by the UN with ˜crimes against humanity". Burma has one of the highest levels of forced labour; over 60% of its people living in poverty; rape is routinely used as a weapon of war and nearly half of the government budget is spent on military purposes.


Monday 10 December 2007

Burma group to mark International Human Rights Day and Anniversary of Nobel Award to Aung San Suu Kyi.

Burma Action Ireland (BAI) will this evening (Monday 10 December), hold a one hour Ceremony of Reflection, which is open to the public, to remember the monks and unarmed civilians killed and detained during the recent military crackdown in Burma. The Ceremony, on this designated International Human Rights day, coincides with the 16th anniversary of the awarding of the Nobel Peace Prize to Aung San Suu Kyi. The Ceremony will take place in the Edith Stein Room, upstairs at the Carmelites’ Church (St Teresa’s), on Clarendon Street, Dublin 2 between 6pm and 7pm. All are welcome to attend.

The Ceremony of Reflection, which will involve music and poetry, will include contributions from film-maker John Boorman, saxophonist Keith Donald (of ‘Moving Hearts’), composer and arranger Fiachra Trench and the poet, writer and member of Aosdána Theo Dorgan.
Aung San Suu Kyi was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize on 10 December 1991 in Oslo for her peaceful efforts to bring democracy to Burma (the prize was collected on her behalf that year by her son, Alexander Aris). The 62-year-old leader of Burma’s National League for Democracy is currently under house arrest in Rangoon.

Readings from works of Aung San Suu Kyi, poetry, music and a candle lighting ceremony will also be part of the 60 minute event which the public is encouraged to attend. There will also be a recitation of the Discourse on Loving Kindness, the Metta Sutra. This Buddhist prayer was recited during the recent demonstration marches in Burma.

Following weeks of protests by Burmese monks and civilians campaigning for human rights and democracy in Burma, Aung San Suu Kyi has welcomed the preliminiary discussions with the military-appointed Liaison Officer Minister Aung Kyi and the good offices role of the United Nations to facilitate the dialogue process but she has stressed the need to start a meaningful and timebound dialogue with the military leadership as soon as possible. Daw Suu Kyi’s views were made known in a recent statement read on her behalf by United Nations Envoy, Ibrahim Gambari on 8 November last, at the end of his six-day mission to her country.

BAI is concerned however that the Burmese dictatorship is still refusing to enter into genuine negotiations with Daw Suu Kyi. Eileen Seymour, Chairperson of BAI said: “Statements issued last week by the Burmese generals make it clear that the military regime have no intention of beginning a genuine inclusive dialogue with the opposition. Military leader, Than Shwe, endorsed their own homegrown seven-point road map to democracy and the Information Minister’s announced that the opposition leaders will not be involved in the writing of the constitution, even though the international community has called for an inclusive constitution-drafting process. The UN Security Council should adopt a binding resolution on Burma that would require the military to work with the UN Secretary General in implementing a plan for national reconciliation and democracy.”

Friday 28 September 2007

Solidarity Protest in support of Peaceful People of Burma
Burma Action Ireland (BAI) will tomorrow (Saturday 29 September 2007) hold a peaceful protest on O’Connell Street, Dublin in solidarity with the people of Burma.

The purpose of the protest between 2pm and 4pm is to show Ireland’s support for the peaceful people of Burma and to maintain international pressure on Burma’s military to end violence and start a process of national reconciliation.

In Burma, protests led by Buddhist monks demanding improved living conditions, peace and democracy have involved thousands of civilians. Demonstrations on this scale have not been seen since the nationwide demonstrations in 1988, which were violently suppressed by the authorities with the killing of approximately 3,000 peaceful demonstrators.

A brutal crackdown by the Burmese military on those protesting over the last 10 days is underway once again.

BAI’s peaceful protest will be held on O’Connell St., Dublin (opposite GPO) on Saturday 29 September 2007 from 2pm to 4pm. All are welcome to attend. Similar such protests are also being held on Saturday by other European Burma solidarity groups across the continent.

Protestors in Dublin will be asked to sign a petition calling on the Chinese President Hu Jintao to compel Burma to engage in a process of valid national reconciliation.

Nobel Laureate 62-year-old Aung San Suu Kyi is a Freewoman of Dublin (2000). The leader of Burma’s National League for Democracy was awarded the Freedom of the City of Dublin that year together with U2 and their manager. Ms Suu Kyi’s award was accepted on her behalf by her son as she was under house arrest at that time.


26th September 2007
Crackdown Begins in Burma

Burma Action Ireland (BAI) has today (Wednesday 26 September 2007) expressed its deep disappointment and grave concern at the commencement of a crackdown by Burma’s military regime on thousands of peaceful monks and students as they tried to march today to Shwe Dagon pagoda in Rangoon.
Despite an order from the military regime – the State Peace & Development Council (SPDC) – banning all gatherings of more than five persons, any marching, the imposition of a curfew from 9pm-5am (overnight) and the fact that security forces have surrounded major Buddhist monasteries, thousands of monks and students marched to Shwe Dagon Pagoda today in Rangoon. The peaceful marchers were attacked by soldiers, police and members of the junta-backed USDA (Union Solidarity and Development Association) and several of them were beaten, arrested, and taken to unknown locations. Security forces also used tear gas to disperse the crowd.

The Assistance Association for Political Prisoners-Burma (AAPPB) has confirmed the arrest of well-known comedian Zargazar and several members of the opposition National League for Democracy (NLD) including MPs. NLD leader & Nobel Laureate Aung San Suu Kyi has reportedly been imprisoned in Insein Prison.
Burma Action Ireland have reiterated their call for the UN Security Council to formulate a collective response to this worsening crisis immediately. The Security Council should urge the Burmese military to work with the Special Envoy, Dr. Ibrahim Gambari, to map out measurable steps towards economic and political reform. China, India, ASEAN and Russia should warn the military that a repeat of the 1988 violence would be unacceptable and would lead to serious consequences, including action by the UN Security Council.
For further information contact: Eileen Seymour - 087 618 0321 / Mary Montaut - 087 1261857

23rd September 2007

– Irish solidarity group’s mounting concern for peaceful protestors

– Call for immediate UN action

Burma Action Ireland (BAI) has today (Sunday 23 September 2007) expressed its deep concern for the welfare and safety of monks who have taken to the streets of the Burmese capital, Rangoon and other parts of the country as part of a daily demonstration of solidarity with civilians who last month (19 August) protested following fuel price increases in the country of up to 500 percent. BAI, together with Burma solidarity groups worldwide, are calling for the UN Security Council to intervene immediately to negotiate an end not only to the current fuel hike crisis, but to the ongoing political crisis that is at the heart of the problems of Burma.

The military dictatorship which rules the country – the State Peace and Development Council (SPDC) - responded to these initial August protests by arresting more than 150 people. Those arrested have been accused of terrorism, and the military is threatening jail terms of up to 20 years. Since then over the past month, thousands of students and civilians–and more recently in the past seven days, Buddhist monks have been protesting in cities across Burma, demanding an end to injustice. Burma, a country with a population of over 50 million has one of the world’s worst human rights records. The military regime refuses to recognize the country’s democratic leader 62–years old Nobel Laureate Aung San Suu Kyi, General Secretary of the party, the National League for Democracy.

Speaking today, Eileen Seymour, Chairperson of the Irish solidarity group BAI said: “The protests have now grown into the largest public demonstrations since 1988, when thousands of peaceful pro-democracy protestors who were demanding basic human rights were killed by the military. Although the monks are revered in Burma and their organised marches are continuing without interference from the military, we are extremely concerned that this stance may change in the coming days. We are fearful the military will lose their nerve and indiscriminate violent attacks may occur”. Ms Seymour added: “We cannot see a repeat of the violence of 1988. It is time for Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to personally intervene and the Security Council to formulate a collective response to this growing crisis immediately. Realising peace, stability and security in the country now requires nothing less”.

BAI is asking the UN to act on the key recommendations made in a 2005 report written by Daw Suu Kyi’s fellow Nobel Laureates Bishop Desmond M Tutu of South Africa and Mr. Vaclav Havel former President of the Czech Republic. The report ‘Threat to the Peace’ strongly recommends the UN Security Council should: require the military government of Burma to work with the Secretary General’s office in implementing a plan for national reconciliation and the restoration of a democratically elected government; urge it to allow for complete access by the United Nations and international humanitarian organisations; and call for the immediate and unconditional release of Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and all prisoners of conscience in Burma.

20th September 2007

Kilkenny Photo Exhibition remembers a forgotten people

"Burma, Forgotten Nation - Forgotten People” opens in Kilkenny Castle on 17 September 2007 and features a collection of 26 photographs taken by photographer, Philip Daly, who accompanied Cork-based TD, Simon Coveney, on a fact-finding trip to the Burmese refugee camps on the Thailand/Burma border. In the photographs, Philip Daly aims to reflect the lives of the refugees - their work, their social structures and their struggle to regain their right to their homeland. This exhibition is being organized by the solidarity group, Burma Action Ireland, in conjunction with the Office of Public Works.

Burma, a country of around 50 million people, is ruled by fear. The human rights record of its military government - the State Peace and Development Council - is among the worst in the world. Among its excesses are wide scale forced labour, conscription of child soldiers, torture, extra-judicial executions, systematic rape and forced relocation of ethnic minorities. Nobel Peace Prize winner, Aung San Suu Kyi, is the leader of the National League for Democracy, the party which won a landslide general election victory in 1990. The military regime have however, chosen to ignore the results and has retained power ever since. Daw Suu Kyi is one of the world's leading pro-democracy activists and advocates of non-violence.

The exhibition, which has had successful runs in Dublin, Cork, Belfast & Kinsale is traveling to towns and cities in Ireland to create awareness of the situation in Burma. Burma Action Ireland wishes to also acknowledge the kind generosity of the OPW in providing exhibition facilities and Philip Daly and Deputy Coveney for sponsorship of the photos.

The exhibition, which will run from 17 – 29 September 2007 (10am to 6.30pm) in Kilkenny Castle (Mezzanine Corridor), is free of charge and open to the public.

25th August 2007

Burmese Junta Escalates Crackdown on Democratic Opposition

In an escalation of its clampdown on democratic opposition, Burma’s military dictatorship has arrested dozens of opposition politicians and community activists. The military junta, the self-styled State Peace and Development Council (SPDC), is responding to recent calls by the democratic opposition, including 92 elected Members of Parliament, for international involvement in a process of national reconciliation and democratisation.
The military is continuing to round up activists suspected of involvement in recent demonstrations and calls for UN assistance in solving the country’s political stalemate. Earlier this month, 92 Members of Parliament, elected in the 1990 elections which the military refused to recognise, wrote to UN Secretary General, Ban Ki-Moon, proposing a seven-step process that the Secretary-General could present to the international community to reach consensus on the situation in Burma. Demonstrations also took place on 8th August to mark an earlier military crackdown in 1988 in which hundreds of demonstrators were killed by troops firing on crowds of demonstrators in Rangoon.
Burma Action Ireland Co-ordinator, Mary Montaut, has supported the MP’s call for international involvement. “The proposal by the Burmese MP’s includes establishing a process of national dialogue with the democratic opposition, the ethnic minorities and the military, which would lead to free and fair elections. We strongly support the MP’s call for the international community, including the UN, to participate in the process and to bring pressure to bear on the military Government.
“Given Burma’s appalling record of human rights abuse, the MPs have gone to extraordinary lengths and put themselves at great personal risk to communicate a coordinated message to the world outside Burma. We should not let the appeal of the MPs, who risk extrajudicial arrest, long jail sentences and possible torture, go unnoticed.”
The Irish Government has been a strong advocate for the restoration of democracy in Burma. In 2006, Irish Aid funded publication of two reports on torture in Burma’s jails and case studies of over one hundred political prisoners who died in custody. Nobel Peace Laureate, Aung San Suu Kyi, free-woman of Dublin and Galway and leader of Burma’s National League for Democracy, has been kept under house arrest since her party won the 1990 elections.

Background Notes on Burma

Burma, also known as Myanmar, is in SE Asia, bordered by Thailand, India, Laos and China.
Burma was a former British colony until independence in 1947, and has been ruled by a military dictatorship since 1962.
Burma’s military rulers, the State Peace and Development Council (SPDC), have one of the world’s worst human rights records. Political prisoners, including journalists, students and political activists, are given lengthy sentences for expressing their views and are systematically tortured while in custody. Worse still are the abuses directed at the ethnic minorities, which include forced labour, rape and summary execution.
The key opposition figure, Nobel Peace Laureate and Freewoman of Dublin and Galway, Aung San Suu Kyi, has been held under house arrest by the military for periods totalling over ten years.
Irish band U2’ song “Walk On” and Damien Rice / Lisa Hannigan’s “Unplayed Piano” are dedicated to Aung San Suu Kyi.
Aung San Suu Kyi’s party, the National League for Democracy, won over 80% of the seats in the elections held in 1990, but the military continues to refuse to recognise the results of these elections.

25th April 2007

Discussions Focus on Human Rights issues

Mr. Conor Lenihan T.D., Minister of State with responsibility for human rights, met yesterday in Dublin with representatives from the National Coalition Government of the Union of Burma (NCGUB), Dr. Sein Win and Dr. Thaung Htun.

They briefed the Minister on the situation in Burma and on the work of the NCGUB to promote peaceful political change in that country. Dr. Sein Win also welcomed Irish Aid support for human rights and democratisation in Burma, particularly in support of Burmese refugees in Thailand.

Minister Lenihan expressed the Government’s deep concern at the human rights situation in Burma, and particularly expressed his deepest concern at reports of the use of rape as a weapon by the military. The Minister strongly stated Ireland’s commitment to supporting political change, peaceful reconciliation and respect for human rights in Burma.

“I am horrified by reports of the use of rape as a weapon by the military regime in their ongoing campaign against civilians in conflict areas. The regime in Burma must immediately put a stop to this utterly reprehensible practice, as well as other serious human rights violations. I remain deeply concerned at the continued detention of Aung San Suu Kyi and would, once again, urge the Burmese government to restore fully her freedom and civil liberties, as well as those of other political prisoners.”

Note for Editors:

The National Coalition Government of the Union of Burma (NCGUB) was formed in December 1990 in response to the military regime’s refusal to hand over power in the wake of the National League for Democracy’s election victory. Led by Dr Sein Win, the NCGUB classifies itself as a government-in-exile. Its founding resolutions seek to:

· Establish a legitimate Government in Burma with the support of elected representatives,

· Establish contacts with the Democratic Alliance of Burma (DAB), the All Burma Students' Democratic Front (ABSDF), and other revolutionary forces, to seek their assistance in setting up a legitimate Government in the liberated area, and

· Seek diplomatic and other forms of support from the international community.

The two NCGUB representatives were in Ireland at the invitation of Burma Action Ireland (BAI), set up in May 1996 to raise awareness of the situation in Burma.

22 April 2007

Burma’s Prime Minister-in-Exile & cousin of Aung San Suu Kyi, Dr. Sein Win, visits Ireland On Monday 23 & Tuesday 24 April 2007

Burma’s Prime Minister-in-Exile and cousin of Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, Dr. Sein Win, will visit Dublin as part of a lobbying tour of European countries where he will meet Minister Conor Lenihan at the Dept. of Foreign Affairs. Representing the National Coalition Government of the Union of Burma (NCGUB), Prime Minister Dr. Sein Win and his colleague, Dr. Thaung Htun, the NCGUB’s representative to the UN, will be briefing the Minister on the current situation in Burma and discussing ways in which Ireland can continue to play a role in pushing for democratic reform in Burma. In particular, they will be seeking the support of Ireland and the EU to advance a resolution on Burma at the UN Security Council. Burma remains on the official agenda of the UN Security Council despite the fact that China & Russia vetoed a Security Council resolution requiring the restoration of democracy in Burma in January this year. Also, the EU Common Position on Burma, which reflects the consensus view of the EU, is due for renewal this week. The delegation will also meet with members of the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Foreign Affairs and other political and official representatives as well as NGOs with connections to Burma and representatives of the trade union movement. Dr. Sein Win, a fluent english speaker, was elected Prime Minister following the formation of the NCGUB in Manerplaw (Karen State) in 1990 but was prevented from taking office by the Burmese military regime. He is the son of U Ba Win, one of Burma’s top political leaders and elder brother of General Aung San, the architect of Burma’s independence and founder of the Burma Army, and first cousin of Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, the leader of Burma’s democracy movement and 1991 Nobel Peace Laureate. Originally based on the Thai-Burma border and now in Washington DC, Dr. Sein Win has travelled extensively seeking international support for a political settlement in Burma. Dr. Thaung Htun, also a fluent english speaker, is a medical graduate but became involved in the democratic uprising in 1988 and since then has been advocating for Burma in international fora. He is the NCGUB’s representative for UN Affairs and is in charge of the Burma UN Service office in New York. Dr. Thaung Htun is responsible for briefing the Department of the Political Affairs of the UN Secretariat and UN agencies on the human rights situation and political development in Burma. He also played a key role in getting the UN Secretary-General's good offices involved in a UN mediated political settlement in Burma. Editor's Note: The military regime in Burma has one of the worst human rights records in the world: it has one of the highest levels of forced labour; more than 1,100 political prisoners; more child soldiers than any other country; over 60% of Burmese people living in poverty; rape is routinely used as a weapon of war; nearly half of the government budget is spent on the military.

27th March 2007

Press Release by
Women’s League of Chinland

Chin women reveal further evidence of state-sanctioned rape in Burma, urge India to stop arming Burma’s junta

Unsafe State, a new report by the Women’s League of Chinland (WLC), provides further evidence of state-sanctioned rape by the military regime’s troops, and urges India, where the majority of Chin refugees seek asylum, to review their economic and military support of the regime.

Despite tight military controls in the isolated Chin hills, the WLC have managed to document 38 cases of sexual violence, committed with impunity by the Burma Army throughout Chin state, mostly during the past five years. Almost half of the cases were gang rapes, and at least a third committed by officers.

The sexual violence was carried out with extreme brutality, with victims being tortured and murdered. One woman was stripped naked and tied to a cross, in a savage act of mockery against her Christian beliefs.

“These horrors are being sanctioned by the state in Burma,” said WLC spokesperson Cheery Zahau. “How can the civilized world accept this junta among their ranks? And how can countries like India and China be arming these rapists?”

The Burmese regime has quadrupled its military presence in Chin State in recent years, and the militarization is set to worsen if plans go ahead to export natural gas from the Burmese coast by pipeline through Chin State to India.

The WLC is launching the report on March 27, Burma’s Resistance Day, which the junta has renamed as their “Armed Forces Day.”


27th March 2007


India today faces an international day of protest over its support for Burma’s brutal military dictatorship. Action will be taking place in 16 countries including, Australia, Bangladesh, Canada, France, Germany, India, Japan, Malaysia, Norway, Netherlands, Philippine, South Korea, Sweden, Thailand, UK, USA.

India has been moving increasingly close to the regime in Burma, supplying arms, loans, and making significant investments in the country.

The most significant investment is India’s involvement in the massive Shwe gas project, which will include a gas pipeline running to India. Indian companies ONGC Videsh (Oil and Natural Gas Company Videsh, India), and GAIL (The Gas Authority of India Limited, India) are partners in the gas project being led by South Korea’s Daewoo. The project is expected to become the regime's largest single source of revenue, providing, on average, US$580 million per year for the regime for twenty years, or a total of US$ 12 billion. “Indian companies investing in the Shwe gas project are funding a regime that tortures, rapes, kills our people,” said Maung Zan from the All Arakan Students and Youth Congress. “India should not be investing in Burma.”

Three main factors drive India’s foreign policy towards Burma. Human rights and democracy is not one of them. Instead, India has prioritised economic interests, particularly access to Burma’s significant gas deposits, its desire to counter Chinese influence in Burma, and its need for cooperation from the regime to help tackle insurgents in the north-east of India, some of whom have bases across the border in Burma’s jungles.

“The world’s largest democracy has abandoned Burma’s democrats,” said Zoya Phan, Campaign Co-ordinator at the Burma Campaign UK. “India should be ashamed of what they have done, supplying money and weapons to one of the world’s most brutal regimes. They have chosen dictatorship over freedom, and when we do have democracy we won’t forget the disgraceful role India played in propping up the dictatorship.”


January 10th 2007

World's largest tiger reserve being ravaged by Burmese junta's greed for gold

A new report, Valley of Darkness, by undercover local researchers exposes how Burma?s military junta is promoting extensive gold-mining in the Hugawng Valley Tiger Reserve in northern Kachin State. The junta has expanded military control of the valley and sold off vast tracts as gold-mining concessions. The valley?s forests and waterways are now being ravaged by over 100 hydraulic and pit mines, using mechanized pumps and dredges and dumping mercury-contaminated tailings. Thousands of desperate migrants from all over Burma are working in squalid mining communities throughout the once pristine valley, where drug addiction and HIV/AIDS have become rampant.

The US-based Wildlife Conservation Society, which jointly established the Hugawng Valley Tiger Reserve, is claiming that Burma?s junta has almost completely closed down the gold-mining industry in the valley. This report proves otherwise.

Valley of Darkness by the Kachin Development Networking Group, will be launched on January 10, 2007.

Report in pdf format available from Burma Action Ireland at

Press Release on Burma for 11th January 2007

5 Burmese Student Leaders Released

Burma Action Ireland welcomes the release of prominent democracy leader Min Ko Naing and the four other 88 Generation Student Leaders detained without charge in Burma since their arrest in September 2006.

The release comes amidst increasing calls from the international community on the UN Security Council to pass its first-ever binding resolution on Burma. The push for a UN Security Council resolution requiring the restoration of democracy to Burma comes after 10 years of failed UN efforts including 29 resolutions by the UN General Assembly and Human Rights Commission and repeated calls by the ILO to end forced labour. In September 2006 the UN Security Council voted to place Burma on its agenda for the first time in history.

Speaking today, Chairperson of BAI, Eileen Seymour, said: "While we welcome the release of the student leaders, it looks like an attempt by the Burmese military regime to stop the UN Security Council from taking action. The military junta has a record of appearing to take steps towards democracy when under pressure from the international community and we urge the UN Security Council not to allow this to influence their discussions".

Min Ko Naing, who was released on Independence Day, is Burma's most prominent pro-democracy leader after Daw Aung San Suu Kyi. He has spent more than fifteen years in detention, suffering torture and solitary confinement for much of that time. He has won numerous
international awards for his peaceful, non-violent calls for change in Burma including the Homo Homini Award from People in Need in the Czech Republic.

There are still more than 1,100 political prisoners in Burmese gaols, many of whom are supporters of the pro-democracy party, the National League for Democracy, led by Daw Aung San Suu Kyi. She has now been under house arrest in Rangoon for more than eleven years.


Press Release for Human Rights Day, 10th December 2006

Human Rights Day Travestied in Burma

In a travesty of World Human Rights Day, fresh reports today from Burma (Myanmar) speak of increased atrocities by the Burmese military government against the civilian population, particularly against the ethnic minorities in that country. Today also marks the fifteenth anniversary of the awarding of the Nobel Peace Prize to the democratically elected leader, Aung San Suu Kyi, who has been under house arrest by the military junta since 1990. The denial of basic human rights is endemic in Burma.

Over recent months, at least 2000 ethnic Karen have been displaced from their villages in eastern Burma, following attacks by the Burmese Army in which their crops have been destroyed and their houses burned to the ground. Some are forced to work as ?porters? for the military who may also use them as human mine-sweepers. In addition the Burmese military frequently use rape as a weapon against ethnic women.

In other border areas, recent reports speak of increased military activity against Shan and Karenni ethnic groups. It is estimated that at least 3 million people are internally displaced within Burma. A similar number have fled to refugee camps on the Thailand and Indian borders where they remain extremely vulnerable to attack.

The total denial of political rights extends to all the people in Burma, as symbolized by the detention of their democratically elected leader, Aung San Suu Kyi. She is the world?s only imprisoned Nobel Peace Laureate. Her fellow Laureates are denied access to her. Today marks the fifteenth year of protest against this outrageous treatment. She remains the chief symbol of hope for the restoration of human rights within her country.

Editor's Note:
The military junta which rules Burma has one of the worst records of human rights abuses in the world. Since coming to power in 1988, it has pursued a policy of 'Burmanization' towards ethnic minorities, which many believe to be tantamount to genocide.


Press Release: Tuesday 28th November 2006

Burmese Military Close Down Red Cross Offices

In an unexpected move, the Burmese ruling military junta has ordered five Red Cross field offices in Burma to shut down. No reason has been given and a spokesperson for the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) said that 'dialogue had ceased' following the closures last week. It is feared that only the Rangoon office of the ICRC will be permitted to remain open.

The closures will severely restrict the work of the Red Cross in Burma, jeopardizing rehabilitation and sanitation work for people caught up in conflict in border regions. Even more drastic is the effect on over 1,200 political prisoners held in Burma's notorious jails, many of whom are supporters of Aung San Suu Kyi, the democratically elected leader detained by the junta for over 15 years. The ICRC visited more than 4,700 detainees on an individual basis before the regime clamped down in December 2005. Political prisoners in Burma are frequently subjected to torture and there have been many deaths in custody. The regime refuses to allow any resumption of ICRC visits. The ICRC director of operations, Pierre Krahenbul, said: 'The ICRC is seriously worried that those in most need will bear the brunt of the current stand-off.' He emphasized that the Red Cross is 'determined to re-engage the (Burmese) government in dialogue' in an effort to restore its operations in the country.

Many aid workers in Burma complain that the military regime is delaying approval for travel outside Rangoon, making it difficult to deliver much-needed aid to target areas. There are estimated to be over 3 million internally displaced people (IDPs) in Burma, driven from their villages by the Burmese Army.

BAI at the Vigil to mark the eleventh year of detention for Burma's Aung San Suu Kyi on 24th October 2006

Press Release: Monday 23 October 2006

Candle light vigil to mark eleven years in detention for Burma's
Aung San Suu Kyi

Burma Action Ireland is holding a candle light
vigil in Dublin on Tuesday 24 October 2006 to
mark the eleventh year in detention of Aung San
Suu Kyi, the democratically elected leader of
Burma. The vigil from 5.30pm to 7pm, will he
held at the head of Grafton Street, near to St Stephen's Green, Dublin.

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Monday 25 September 2006

Mr Simon Coveney TD, MEP, to open Burma Photo Exhibition

Simon Coveney, TD, MEP and spokesperson for Human Rights in the European Peoples Party, will perform the official opening of a photographic exhibition entitled "Burma, Forgotten Nation - Forgotten People”, in the Thornhill Centre, 121 Culmore Road, Derry on Thursday 14th September 2006 at 7.30pm. The exhibition is hosted by Derry Diocesan Catechetical Centre and the Thornhill Centre.

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Monday 19 June 2006

Birthday of Burma's Aung San Suu Kyi marked with photographic exhibition.

To mark the 61st birthday today of Aung San Suu Kyi, the democratically elected leader of Burma, and Freewoman of both Dublin and Galway, a photographic exhibition entitled Burma, Forgotten Nation - Forgotten People will open this evening at 6pm in Dublin's Market Bar on Fade Street in Dublin 2. The exhibition, which will run from Monday 19 June to Friday 23 June 2006 in the Bar's Gallery, is free of charge and open to the public.

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Sunday 28 May 2006

Statement issued today from the Chairperson of Burma Action Ireland (BAI), Eileen Seymour, in response to the further detention of Aung San Suu Kyi under house arrest.

Another Broken Promise

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Friday 2 December 2005
Report on torture in Burma published today

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29 November 2005

UN Security Council Urged To Help Bring Political Settlement in Burma


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28 November 2005

Aung San Suu Kyi’s detention extended by Burmese military junta

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June 16 2005

REM to beam Irish concert into Burma as Galway honour
Aung San Suu Kyi with Freedom of the City

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May 30 2005

Aung San Suu Kyi awarded Freedom of the City of Galway

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May 10 2005

Exiled democratic government responds to regime’s charges;
NCGUB deny any involvement in Burmese bomb blasts

Feb 21 2005
‘TOTAL Oil: Fuelling the oppression in Burma’; new report & campaign launch exposes oil giant’s partnership with regime.

Feb 9 2005
Burma – Beyond The Silence’; Harn Yawnghwe, leading figure in Burma’s democracy movement holds public meetings in Galway, Dublin & Belfast.

Dec 18 2004
Growing concern for Aung San Suu Kyi’s safety as Burma’s military regime orders removal of her personal security team.

Dec 9 2004
On Nobel Peace Prize ceremony day, female Oireachtas members and fellow Nobel Laureates show solidarity with Aung San Suu Kyi.

Nov 20 2004
The ‘Conqueror of Kings’ is freed; now Aung San Suu Kyi and Burma’s 1300 political prisoners must be released.

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