“Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man’s character, give him power.” Abraham Lincoln


with 2 comments

Where do human rights apply? Europe? America? Britain? China? Or even Burma?

It seems that the answer is everywhere and nowhere.

China’s appalling human rights records in Tibet is well documented from the annexation of the country, suppression of dissent and forced settlement.

Therefore, it should come as no surprise that Burma’s biggest ally is China.

These regimes exist by monopolising power, limiting news and information, restricting external access and brutal military power.

The Burmese generals who have run Burma for the last 45 years, since the military coup in 1962 have brutally dealt with any dissent:

“A military-dominated regime led by the Burma Socialist Programme Party (BSPP) held power for the next 26 years. There were no free elections, and freedom of expression and association were almost entirely denied. Resistance to the regime occasionally flared, and student and worker demonstrations in the 1960s and 1970s were brutally crushed. Torture, political imprisonment, and other human rights abuses were common. Throughout this period, costly guerrilla wars with ethnic opposition groups along the country’s frontiers continued.”

As far as I can see, there are effectively four outcomes to the current revolt:

1) the Burmese dictatorship gives in to public pressure
2) China exerts extraordinary pressure on the Burmese Generals and they give up power willingly
3) the military dictatorship in Burma uses all their might to crush it
4) the whole of the population rise up and depose the Generals

The first two seem highly unlikely, all of the Security Council resolutions count for nought in Burma, only tangible and concerted force would remove the Burmese military from power.

China has played a duplicitous role at the UN, blocking any action against the Burmese dictatorship.

So unless the people of Burma emancipate themselves it is doubtful that any external force will achieve much.

Pressure on China might have worked, early on in the revolt, as they are very vulnerable over the Olympics but the world’s weak response has embolden the dictatorships in both countries.

Here are some background links on Burma:

Burma: the history behind the protests by Michael Charney

Factfile: Burma’s history of repression

Burma Labour Solidarity Organisation

Rebound 88

Project Maje, an independent information project on Burma’s human rights and environmental issues.

ILO on Forced labour in Myanmar (Burma)

Burmanet News

Narinjara News

Mizzima News

Kaladan Press Network

(Hat tip: Jim D)

Update 1: Burma Campaign

Update 2: Irrawaddy News reports on Burma Information Blackout

(Thanks to BobB for picking up typos!)

Update 3: March for Bumra

Written by modernityblog

01/10/2007 at 18:18

Posted in Uncategorized

2 Responses

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  1. Thanks for all of this – very informative, as always. You need to fix some of the links though! -B


    02/10/2007 at 09:48

  2. […] dictators in Burma feel they have a free hand to kill or brutalise anyone in the country, safe in the knowledge that […]

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