Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Will Congress Help the Victims of the Burmese Regime?

No Aid to Generals' Pockets
Congress Must Do More for Victims of Burma's Two Tragedies

Dear Friends,

The people of Burma need your help again.  Thanks to you, 43 Representatives sent a letter to President Bush on Friday urging him to consider humanitarian intervention to get aid to the victims of Cyclone Nargis in Burma before more lives are lost because of the callousness of Burma's military regime.

We can do more, Congress can do more for both the cyclone victims and the victims of Burma's other tragedy, the regime's war on Burma's ethnic minority civilians - by increasing aid to organizations who ARE working to help bring assistance to the people of Burma. Congress is right now considering an emergency funding bill - we need you to tell them not to forgot the victims of Burma's two tragedies, the cyclone and the regime's ethnic cleansing campaign.

There are organizations working to help the victims of Burma's military regime, but the needs are great and with increasing food prices in the region, organizations are struggling to provide the most basic and necessary relief for refugees fleeing the cylone and the regime's attacks.  This emergency spending bill can help ensure that the U.S. is doing its part to save the lives of the people of Burma. Please send an email now.

The current situation:

The Burmese Regime's Prime Minister Thien Sein said this week: "We have already finished our first phase of emergency relief. We are going on to the second phase, the rebuilding stage". This is beyond horrifying considering the UN and aid agencies inside Burma have all stated that 75% of the cyclone victims, more than 2 million people, have yet to receive ANY emergency aid.  The emergency relief 'phase' is not over.  More than 2 million people are in desperate need of food, clean water, shelter and medical care.  If they do not receive emergency aid in the immediate future they are at severe risk of death from starvation and disease.

The Burmese junta continues to not only neglect, but brutally restrict aid from getting to those in need. UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon is going to Burma himself on Thursday, but the regime will try its usual tricks to make it seem that all is normal.

An agreement at an ASEAN conference of ministers on Monday was overly limited and will not be able to faciliate and ensure the massive aid delivery that needs to happen. While some aid might get in because of this agreement, it is mostly a ploy to advert international pressure.

Now on Sunday, Ban Ki-moon and ASEAN will lead a conference in Rangoon, to raise funds to go towards cyclone relief. These funds cannot go directly into the pockets of the Burmese generals, they have shown for decades, and even in this tragic situation that they care nothing for the people of Burma.

This donor pledging conference for reconstruction will take place the day after the regime holds their sham constitutional referendum in cyclone affected areas and the same day it is expected they will extend Aung San Suu Kyi's house arrest.

While the regime sits on more than $4 billion in foreign exchange reserves and earns more than $150 million a month in natural gas sales, they have pledged only $4.4 million to relief efforts.  The regime is hoping to turn the international community's compassion and generosity for the survivors of Cyclone and regime's cruelty into their newest cash cow.

Global Food Crisis creates Emergency Food Crisis for those fleeing attacks by the Burmese military

For many years, the Burmese regime has been attacking ethnic minority civilians in its ethnic cleansing campaign.   Those who have fled to avoid being killed, now face a second crisis: increasing rice prices.  If the U.S. does not provide emergency funding for refugees from Burma, organizations that provide them food, shelter and medicine will have to cut food rations by 50 to 75%, creating a serious humanitarian disaster affecting hundreds of thousands of people.

Learn more about Burma's Ethnic Cleansing Here


Burma's Next Wave of Dying (Boston Globe)

Aid Still Undelivered to Neediest in Burma (UPI Asia Online)

Burma Still Short on Food and Power (Newsweek)

Support 1991 Nobel Peace Prize recipient Aung San Suu Kyi and the struggle for freedom and democracy in Burma.
Become a member of the United States Campaign for Burma today.

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