London/Yangon — Burma Human Rights Network stands in firm solidarity with the protesters and organizations behind Burma’s nationwide general strike. The protests on February 22nd are expected to be the largest yet, despite violence over the weekend where security forces shot and killed two protesters. Notably, the 33rd Light Infantry Division, which committed many crimes against the Rohingya, was dispatched against the protesters. The weekend also saw the tragic death of peaceful protester Mya Thwate Thwate Khaing who was on life support for ten days after being shot in the head by security forces. As the protest movement gains momentum, the military’s crackdown is becoming increasingly hostile towards civilians and it is urgent that the international community takes immediate action.
“We are indescribably proud of the activists involved in the general strike but also tremendously worried for their safety. They have taken a stand against a rogue military regime that seeks to rule over them undemocratically and this is truly commendable. The military will try every tactic they know to retain power, as we’ve already witnessed with live gunshots, indiscriminate killings, water cannons, internet blackouts, and mass arrests. The unity of the Burmese people will be key to their success, and we are overjoyed to witness so many activists in solidarity with each other despite race and religion. We encourage this unity and believe it will be key to the movement’s success,” Said BHRN’s Executive Director, Kyaw Win
Since the military’s coup on 1 February, activists have flooded the streets for weeks in response, many of them carrying signs expressing sympathy for the Rohingya. Likewise, Rohingya in the refugee camps in Bangladesh and IDP camps in Burma have outpoured support for the protesters and solidarity in their aspiration to end the dictatorship. Muslims, Christians, and Buddhists in the protests are working in unity towards a shared goal and vision of a better future for Burma.
BHRN calls on the Burmese military to stand down, dismiss and charge the coup leaders, relinquish power, and to allow the elected members of Parliament to meet and govern. Once Parliament resumes, it must immediately amend or completely rewrite the 2008 Constitution, which the military has used to maintain its grasp on power. This Parliament must also finally acknowledge the rights of all minorities, including the Rohingya, and work towards ending the country’s decades-old civil war in the ethnic regions. BHRN calls on the international community to seek these ends by using every tool at their disposal. The coup leaders and all of their business interests must be sanctioned, the military must be ostracized globally until they stand down, an arms embargo must be enacted, and the Civil Disobedience Movement must be given total support and recognition as the democratic will of the people of Burma.
Background on the Burma Human Rights Network (BHRN)
BHRN is based in London and operates across Burma/Myanmar working for human rights, minority rights and religious freedom in the country. BHRN has played a crucial role in advocating for human rights and religious freedom with politicians and world leaders.
Burma Human Rights Network (BHRN)
T: +44(0) 740 345 2378