Modern Day BurmaContemporary Burma
Contemporary apartment life in Burma
Penalties were removed and Burma's Burma presiding officer, Thein Sein, travels the globe, celebrated by leading personalities of the planet. On a recent visit to Burma, I realized that the enthusiasm was too early, inappropriate and deeply inhumane. It focuses on issues of ethnical tension and the limits of recent development.
I have seen on my recent trip and from a number of accounts from organizations such as Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW) and Human Rights Watch that they are able to unravel Burma's development from a dictatorial army to a pluralist, federative democratic state if the challenge of racial conflict is not tackled. On my trip I saw Rohingyas and Kachin, whose home states are the two most bloody theatre of people.
There is now good documentation of the suffering of the Muslim Rohingya tribe, most recently by Human Rights Watch in its 150-page All You Can Do Is Plas, which describes crowd tombs of violent attacks on the Arakan state in June and October last year. Rohingyas are among the most oppressed and marginalized in the hemisphere and are now faced with an increased offensive of ethnoclean.
" May I urge them to arrange a meeting with the UN Secretary-General for Freedom of Religion in the State of Arakan. Burma's authorities must overturn the 1982 Nationality Act, which deprives Rohingyas of their nationality, makes them Stateless and introduces a new nationality act in line with world standards.
Likewise, the Thein Sein administration must end the Burmese army's attack on the Kachin tribe as part of a serious peacemaking proces. When Burma really is on the road to transformation, the Burmese authorities must stop this abuse and fight the longstanding history of road traffic. Up to now, the changes on the soil have primarily been a modification of the environment and not a system changeover.
There are many detainees in jail, and last year I was detained again for the arrest of several hundred other detainees - during my stay I was in the infamous Insein Penitentiary, where several hundred long-term detainees are still behind bars. What do you mean? I' ve made three previous trips to Burma - the first 15 years ago.
Mr. Brian is Liverpool John Moores University Visiting Associate Teacher, Chair of the All Party Group on North Korea, Volunteer Chair of Karen Aid and one of the founding members of the CLA. You can find out more about his trip to Burma at www.davidalton.net.