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Statement on the 13th Anniversary Commemoration of the 8.8.88 People's Power Uprising for Democracy and Human Rights in Burma

 

1. August 8th, 2001 marks the 13th anniversary of the Eight 8.8.88 people's uprising in Burma for anti-militarism and pro-democracy. Since 1962 under totalitarian military rule, Burma has been denied democracy, national unity, peace and national development, and has rapidly deteriorated to become one of the poorest countries in the world. The historic 8.8.88 uprising was a symbol of national unity among all democracy forces and ethnic nationalities organizations with the call for freedom, justice, rights and change within society.

 

2. During the 1988 democratic movements, students, religious leaders and people from all walks of life demonstrated their courage and unity in the struggle to abolish totalitarianism and restore democracy, in spite of the brutal suppression of the so-called socialist regime. The 8.8.88 people's uprising was notably considered as a progression of past democracy and independence movements.

 

3. On August 8, 1988 alone, thousands of students, religious leaders and people were slaughtered, and many thousands were put behind bars. Thousands of other students and political activists left for liberated areas to continue their fight for democracy and human rights and new resistance forces were established to pursue the struggle against the military regime. In order to decelerate and annihilate these democratic movements, the regime which had unlawfully seized power, decided to hold a multi party general election with the purpose of prolonging military rule.

 

Up to this day, the 1990 election results have been ignored and the national constitution is being drafted by the regime's hand-picked representatives. Many of the elected members of parliament and democracy activists are still in prisons. Many political parties have been forcefully banned and existing political parties are intimidated and harassed.

 

Since Independence, the political conflicts between the ruling governments and ethnic nationalities have not been solved. The military regime has marginalized the cease-fire groups in terms of economics, race and religion, exploited drug production, and has increased military aggression especially in ethnic States.

 

Today the country's economy, social values, education, health, literature, culture and all areas of national development are collapsing, and people are living in bitter and disgraceful situations.

 

5. With mutual respect and equal status, we, the democratic forces and ethnic nationalities organizations, on behalf of the people of Burma, wish to settle the country's political problems by peaceful means. However, a genuine dialogue has not yet taken place, instead only brutal oppression by successive regimes. It is hard to accept that the current secret talks between Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, the leader of the National League for Democracy (NLD) and the military regime are genuinely making progress.

 

The leaders, Chairman U Aung Shwe, Vice-chairman U Tin Oo and General Secretary Daw Aung San Suu Kyi are still under de facto house arrest; many of the NLD senior leaders remain in prison; there is no freedom of communication and movement between the political parties; and the results of the on-going talks have not been disclosed.

 

In order to proceed and achieve a genuine dialogue:

 

- Chairman U Aung Shwe, Vice-chairman U Tin Oo, General Secretary Daw Aung San Suu Kyi of the National League for Democracy, and other respected leaders should be released unconditionally and the party must be allowed to function without restraints. Other political parties should also have freedom and rights for their political movements.

 

- Prominent student leader Min Ko Naing and other detained political prisoners ought to be released unconditionally.

 

- Political forces and civil society organizations ought to be allowed to assemble and campaign for their political engagements.

 

- The direction of on-going political talks between the NLD and the SPDC ought to be publicized.

 

- The SPDC ought to allow the NLD to have an equal political status.

 

6. The ethnic nationalities should play a significant role in part of the dialogue process in order to build internal peace, national reconciliation and a genuine federal union.

 

7. On the 13th anniversary of the 8.8.88 democracy uprising, we would like to emphasize that our fight for democracy has not come to an end yet. Along with democratic forces and ethnic nationalities organizations, we will carry on our struggle until we achieve national reconciliation, democratic rights and a genuine federal union of Burma.

 

We honor our fallen colleagues who sacrificed their lives for the restoration of democracy and human rights in Burma.

 

National League for Democracy (Liberated Area)

Democratic Party for a New Society

All Burma Students' Democratic Front

All Burma Federation of Student Unions (Foreign Affairs’ Committee)

 

August 7th, 2001

 

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Foreign Affairs' Committee

All Burma Federation of Student Unions.

P.O. Box ( 122 )

MAe Sot

Tak Province, 63110

Thailand.

Email:      : bakatha@loxinfo.co.th, bakatha@cscoms.com

Tel:        : 66 55 542 724

Fax:        : 66 55 542 724

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