Rally In New York To End Attacks After 3,000 Villages Destroyed In Eastern Burma (click to view PDF)

Speakers, Music, Images Planned for Saturday, November 11th, 2006

For Immediate Release

November 10th, 2006
Contact: Jeremy Woodrum: (202) 234-8022

(Washington, DC) Activists, musicians, and refugees from the Southeast Asian country of Burma will gather in New York City’s Union Square this Saturday, November 11th as part of a new, growing campaign to draw attention to the human rights disaster in eastern Burma, where over 3,000 villages have been burned or relocated by the ruling military regime.


“The world knows what is happening in Darfur and they know what took place in Rwanda,” said Cristina Moon of the US Campaign for Burma. “But the destruction of 3,000 villages in eastern Burma is perhaps the world’s least-known major disaster.”


Over the past 10 years, Burma’s military regime has carried out a brutal ethnic cleansing campaign against Karen, Kachin, Karenni, Shan, and Mon ethnic minorities that has forced over 1 million refugees to flee their homes. An additional 1/2 million civilians live trapped inside eastern Burma as internal refugees, outside the reach of international humanitarian aid. Over 150,000 refugees have found relative safety in refugee camps in neighboring Thailand.


Activists aim to collect signatures on 3,000 postcards – one for each destroyed village — that will be sent to UN Secretary General Kofi Annan. The postcards read: “We strongly urge you to personally intervene and request URGENT ACTION from the UN Security Council to stop these attacks and demand the release of Nobel Peace Prize recipient Aung San Suu Kyi, just as you similarly called for strong, immediate action in Lebanon, Sudan, and elsewhere when civilians were being killed and homes destroyed on a massive scale.”


Aung San Suu Kyi, locked up by the ruling military junta, is the world’s only imprisoned Nobel Peace Prize recipient.


The event will take place from 2 PM until 6:30 PM on Saturday, November 11, in the South Plaza of Union Square. Representatives from Burmese human rights organizations working on the Thailand-Burma border, the human rights organization WITNESS, local Burmese communities, and the US Campaign for Burma will all speak. The speakers will be followed by musical performances, including by Didi Gutman of the band Brazilian Girls and Rebecca Fanya.


Images of recent attacks and displacements in Eastern Burma will be projected on a large screen. Participants and spectators to Saturday’s event will be encouraged to take action for the people of eastern Burma, by signing postcards and making 3,000 origami houses symbolic of eastern Burma’s 3,000 destroyed villages. The origami houses will be delivered to the Burmese embassy in Washington DC.


“The world needs to wake up to the severity of the crisis in eastern Burma,” said Moon. “The longer people wait to act, the more people will die.”


More information on the situation in eastern Burma, including a brand-new, downloadable slideshow on eastern Burma, can be found at 
www.uscampaignforburma.org 

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