Burma Democratic Concern has the firm determination to carry on doing until the democracy restore in Burma.

Wednesday, 27 October 2010


Burma gained independence from the Britain on 4 January 1948. It
shares the border with China, Laos, Thailand, Bangladesh, and India.
The military has dominated government since General Ne Win led
a coup in 1962 to 1988, first as military ruler, then as self-appointed
president, and later as political kingpin.

In 1988, student led the uprising and eventually managed to topple the
one party rule led by General Ne Win. Another military came to power
and gun down more than 3000 protesters. Due to the increase domestic
and international pressure, junta promised to hold the election. In 1990,
National League for Democracy (NLD) led by Daw Aung San Suu Kyi,
daughter of the Burma’s independence architect Gen. Aung San - won a
landslide victory. The ruling junta refused to hand over power and
instead put NLD leader and Nobel Peace Prize laureate, Aung San Suu
Kyi, under house arrest.

The people of Burma have been suffering under one of the world's most
brutal and repressive regime. The military regime uses murder, torture,
rape, political imprisonment and forced labour as practices for ruling the
citizens of Burma. Freedom of expression and freedom of association are
non-existent and Burmese citizens are denied any state in the shaping of
their future.

Burma's economic crisis continues to deepen under military rule. People
earn on a wage of around $1 a day. Unemployment is rising dramatically
every month while prices of consumer goods are escalating out of
control. And the value of the local kyat on the informal market continues
to stumble. Living standards of many Burmese are declining rapidly. One
child in three under the age of five is already suffering from malnutrition,
less than 50 per cent of children will complete five years of education
according to UN reports.

In Burma, people face complete lack of access to basic social services
such as health services, and water sanitation. Under the military
generals, poverty has soared and corruption is growing. Burma spends
less than $3 per person per year on health and education – well below
the World Health Organization recommended level of $40 per person.
The economic crisis and instability in Burma is driving waves of Burmese
children into hard labour, begging and the sex trade. Burma is in the
midst of a health and educational crisis.

The military maintains an extensive network of Military Intelligence
(MI), informers, police, militias such as Swan-Arr-Shin and Union
Solidarity and Development Association (USDA) members, ready to
arrest anyone suspected of holding or expressing anti-government
opinions in Burma. Laws have been established that criminalize freedom
of thought, expression, association, assembly and movement, thus
legitimizing these arbitrary arrests and continued to arbitrarily detain
people across Burma for associating with opposition groups. These types
of detentions occurred commonly and in most cases individuals alleged
of such illegal association were detained, interrogated and many were
tortured, without warrant, charge or trial.

The military maintained complete control over the legal system and
remained unbound by any legislation or constitutional provision for a
fair trial, due process of law or any other rights. Military government
denies basic rights to due process of law, a fair and public trial in political
cases. No trials of political prisoners were open to the public, and in
many cases reported details of the case were not even available to the
defendant's family; such as the reason for arrest, sentencing or location
of the person detained.

Frequently the detainee is not informed under which section or article he
or she is being detained. In addition, detainees rarely have access to legal
counsel or the opportunity to obtain release on bail. The accused may be
held for lengthy periods of time without any communication. Trials for
political detainees are normally held in courtrooms on prison
compounds, in a "special court", and defendants are given little chance to
speak, are ignored when they do make statements and certainly are not
permitted to properly defend themselves. Even after being charged,
political prisoners are still denied the right to proper legal counsel.

Prisons in Burma are places where human rights violations and brutality
are everyday realities. Abuses include prolonged shackling, torture, lack
of proper medical care and insufficient food. Political prisoners face
cruel, inhumane and degrading treatment in the prisons, or in detention
centres. They also face torture after arrest and during interrogation so as
to punish them and to force them to cooperate with interrogators.
Political prisoners face both physical and emotional torture, often during
long-lasting periods of detention after the initial arrest while they are

Children under the age of 18 are about 40% of Burma population. The
military junta does not consider children’s development and welfare as a
priority and used almost half of the state budget is spent to the arm,
leaving very little for the vital education and health care systems.
Decades of military mismanagement of the economy has resulted in an
appalling economic situation and is forcing the vast majority of parents
to rely on the contribution of their children working in order to feed their

The worst forms of child labour can be seen in Burma –in the army, the
construction industry, domestic work, and the mines or in different
places. Children are by no means exempt from the forced labour imposed
on hundreds of thousands of the Burmese population by military.
Moreover, the military continues to forcibly recruit children into the
army, some as young as eleven years old. There are 70, 000 children in
the army and largest child soldiers in the world. Military forced young
girls to serve as porters and sometimes rape and used them as sexual

The Burmese government spends seven times less on education than on
the armed forces. Since 1990, government expenditure on civilian
education has dropped by 70 percent, and the most recent statistics
indicate that spending on education is currently equivalent to less than
1% of the GDP. According to World Bank figures, Burma’s military
government spends only $0.28 per year for every child in a public school.

Following a sharp increase of fuel prices on August 15, 2007,
prodemocracy groups led by students began a series of peaceful marches
and demonstrations to protest the failing economic situation in Burma.
The regime immediately responded by arbitrarily detaining
prodemocracy activists. As popular dissatisfaction spread, Buddhist
monks began leading peaceful marches together with public and the
regime violently crackdown by shooting, beating and arresting thousands
of monks, prodemocracy activists, onlookers and killing dozens.
Currently, there are more than 2000 political prisoners in Burma and
regime continues to arrest democratic dissident, torture and sentence to

In Burma, power is centred on the ruling junta--the State Peace and
Development Council, or SPDC--which maintains strict authoritarian
rule over the people of Burma. Control is maintained through
intimidation, the strict censuring of information, repression of individual
rights, and suppression of ethnic minority groups. To avoid doing
genuine dialogue with Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, the regime is using one of
the delaying tactics- buying times. They are waiting for another crisis
happen in another part of the world and if the crisis happens, the
attention on Burma from international community will divert to that
crisis and Burma will go back to status quo.

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