U Kyaw Min is the elected MP of the National Democratic Party for Human Rights (NDPH) for Buthidaung and a member of the Committee for Representative Peoples Parliament (CRPP).
Special agents took him from his home in Rangoon around midnight on the 17th March to an undisclosed location. His wife and two grown up daughters were also arrested for their stay in Rangoon. His lawyer, relatives and friends of U Kyaw Min have all been denied permission to visit him. It is still not known why Kyaw Min was arrested and what he is being interrogated on. As he is not allowed to see his family and receive basic things including medicines, his family members are seriously concerned for the health condition of Kyaw Min.
There are an estimated 1300 political prisoners of conscience in Burma and the UN has frequently called for their release.
Background on Burma
Ever since the military regime seized power in 1962 by coup, it has mercilessly oppressed the people of Burma particularly the ethnic groups. The ethnic Rohingyas are the worst victims. The Junta, currently known as the State Peace and Development Council (SPDC), regularly attacks civilian villages in the ethnic areas. Most of these attacks take place in the middle of the night and are most intense during the planting and harvest seasons. Villagers are used as human minesweepers, bullet shields and forced labourers. Children are abducted and sent to the frontline. Villagers are shot on sight, villages are burnt down, paddy fields and livestock are destroyed. Women are regularly raped and places of worship destroyed. The junta has arbitrarily denied the Rohingyas of their Burmese citizenship and thus reduced them to a status of \”de facto stateless\” in their own homeland. Nearly half of their population has been expelled. Those who are still at home are living in subhuman condition counting their days in utmost miseries with uncertain future The Junta has imposed humiliating restrictions on their freedom of movement, seriously curtailed their economic, social and political rights and has disallowed their children to continue their further studies. The Rohingyas living in Rangoon and elsewhere in Burma are frequently questioned, harassed, punished and deported under false charges.
Although the EU has implemented limited sanctions against Burma, these are very weak and have done little to weaken the regime. The UN Security Council has never even raised the issue as a formal agenda item. It is time for individual countries to impose their own unilateral sanctions on Burma as well as push for the UN Security Council to debate the matter.
What you can do to help:
1) Contact the Burmese Embassy in your country and demand that Mr U Kyaw Min and all other political prisoners of conscience be immediately and unconditionally released.
Embassy of the Union of Myanmar
19 A Charles Street
Tel. (020) 7499 4340
(020) 7409 7035 Ambassador\’s Office
(020) 7493 7397 Political, Trade, Press and Cultural Affairs Section
Fax: (020) 7409 7043
2) Write to the Foreign Office requesting that the Foreign Secretary, Jack Straw, to call for unilateral sanctions on Burma and to raise the issue of Burma as a formal agenda item at the UN Security Council. A sample letter is below.
Write direct to:
Rt. Hon. Jack Straw MP
Foreign & Commonwealth Office
King Charles Street
3) Contact your MP, ask them to contact the Foreign Secretary, Jack Straw and demand that he call for the immediate and unconditional release of all political prisoners of conscience in Burma and that the issue of unilateral sanctions on Burma be raised in parliament.
You can contact your MP by ringing the House of Commons switchboard 020 7219 300, ask to be put through to you MP.
Rt. Hon. Jack Straw MP
Foreign & Commonwealth Office
King Charles Street
Dear Mr Straw:
Re: Continued Detention of U Kyaw Min and other political prisoners of conscience by Burmese military Junta
I am writing to you regarding the case of Mr U Kyaw Min, a prominent MP in Burma, who was arrested by the illegal Burmese Military regime in Rangoon on the 17th March 2005. U Kyaw Min is the elected MP of the National Democratic Party for Human Rights (NDPH) for Buthidaung and a member of the Committee for Representative Peoples Parliament (CRPP).
Last March, he was taken from his home in Rangoon around midnight to an undisclosed location by special agents of the Burmese military regime. His lawyer, relatives and friends of Mr Kyaw Min have all been denied permission to visit him and his whereabouts are unknown. It is unclear why Mr Kyaw Min was arrested and what he is being interrogated about. As he is not allowed to see his family and receive basic things including medicines, his family members are seriously concerned for the health condition of Mr Kyaw Min. Mr Kyaw Min is only one of the estimated 1300 political prisoners of conscience in Burma.
Mr Straw, the UK has been very outspoken in its criticisms of the merciless oppression committed by the Burmese military junta against the Burmese population, particularly in ethnic areas. Human rights abuses include regular attacks on civilian villages, mass rape and murder, child abduction, burning of villages and destruction of places of worship. The greatest victims are the ethnic Rohingyas in the Arakan State, who have been arbitrarily denied their Burmese citizenship and thus effectively rendered stateless in their own homeland. Nearly half of their population has been expelled. Those who are still at home are living in subhuman condition counting their days in utmost miseries with uncertain future The Junta has imposed humiliating restrictions on their freedom of movement, seriously curtailed their economic, social and political rights and has disallowed their children to continue their further studies.
The Burmese Junta has refused to comply with any of the requirements of democracy or human rights and has turned a deaf ear to the criticisms of the UK, the EU and the UN. The time has come for effective punitive action such as unilateral sanctions until such time as these abuses and atrocities desist. I also urge you to raise the issue as a formal agenda item at the UN Security Council. I plead with you to demand the immediate and unconditional release of Mr Kyaw Min and all political prisoners of conscience in Burma and to take the necessary decisive action, should this demand not be met.
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“And what reason have you that you should not fight in the way of Allah and of the weak among the men and the women and the children, (of) those who say: Our Lord! Cause us to go forth from this town, whose people are oppressors, and give us from Thee a guardian and give us from Thee a helper.”
Holy Qur’an: Chapter 4, Verse 75
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