A blog by Luke Akehurst about politics, elections, and the Labour Party - With subtitles for the Hard of Left. Just for the record: all the views expressed here are entirely personal and do not necessarily represent the positions of any organisations I am a member of.

Friday, January 26, 2007

Burma Campaign

Our constituency Labour Party last night heard an incredibly moving description by two Burmese asylum seekers about the human rights abuses and slow genocide of ethnic minorities being perpetrated by the Burmese military junta, the sickly misnamed "State Peace and Development Council".

I'll quote again the key facts:

"Burma is ruled by one of the most brutal and corrupt regimes in the world, responsible for:

The widespread use of forced labour
Over 1 million people forced from their homes
At least 1100 political prisoners, many of whom are routinely tortured
As many as 70,000 child soldiers - more than any other country in the world.
Rape as a weapon of war against ethnic women and children
Nearly half the government budget spent on the military and just 19p per person per year on health
One in ten babies die before their fifth birthday"

Grotesquely, there are British companies selling holidays to this place! The Burma Campaign is urging a boycott of them.

They urged us to actively support the Burma Campaign, quoting Aung San Suu Kyi: "Please use your liberty to promote ours".

Please consider joining the campaign.

If you have a blog or website please link to it:



Anonymous Anonymous said...

This may be an excellent campaign Luke. Well done for drawing attention to it. I say "may be" because all boycotts need to be weighed up by potential participants in terms of whether they harm workers or tyrants more in the short, medium and long terms. Have not had to decide on this one as Burma is not on my destination list, but did boycott South Africa, and don't boycott Israel - though I do very have strong antipathy to state actions there.

Tory conference 06 had an excellent platform guest on this very subject. You may have seen it yourself? She appeared to be urging military action however. And she received a standing invasion. I mean a standing ovation.

At the time this reminded me rather of Iraqi refugees asking for invasions and getting ovations in other places. Burma would have the advantage of being a more realistic replica of Vietnam.

11:41 am, January 26, 2007

Blogger Luke Akehurst said...

They said the infrastructure for tourism in Burma has been built using forced labour - a boycott won't hurt workers who are unpaid and therefore de facto slaves.

They didn't ask for military action but for us to pressure our govt to increase diplomatic pressure & sanctions on the junta, and to put pressure on companies who invest there.

In the ethnic minority areas where villages are being bombed/mortared/ethnically clensed there is an argument the UN should put peacekeepers in.

11:47 am, January 26, 2007

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree. Not for the first time. Burma woman at Tory conference was I think asking for a military adventure. I'll see if I can google her speech.

4:05 pm, January 26, 2007

Anonymous Simon said...


Any of the 'defence' companies you work for sell arms to Burma?

4:49 pm, January 27, 2007


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