Monday, May 12, 2008

Will More Die in Burma than Rwanda? Time for Action Now

      No More Waiting For Permission
UK, US, and France Must Deliver Aid Now

Dear Friends, 

We are writing with an emergency appeal.  It is now clear that China and its allies at the United Nations will block the UN Security Council from authorizing aid to Burma over the objections of the military regime.  

Please send a message now to the UK, French, and US governments to send aid in now, even without approval of the Burmese junta.
The Burmese regime's denial of aid to its own people is a crime against humanity.  Yet, because of China's objections, the UN remains virtually powerless. The major opposition groups inside Burma released a statement on the 9th saying "To save thousands of lives before it's too late, we would like to urge the United Nations and foreign governments to intervene in Burma immediately to provide humanitarian and relief assistance directly to the people of Burma, without waiting for the permission of the military junta, with a decision made by the UN Security Council or individual country."

The world sat by, hiding behind diplomatic and legal protocols, when 800,000 were slaughtered in Rwanda.  Now, millions are at risk in Burma and the world is similarly paralyzed. There are estimates that 1.5 million Burmese are on the brink of a "massive public health catastrophe." The world knew what was happening in Rwanda and did nothing, and the world is aware of what could happen in Burma. This is a regime that has already destroyed 3200 ethnic minority villages, recruited more child soldiers than any other country, and now is blocking aid to millions of people.

News reports indicate that at a meeting in Rangoon yesterday a Burmese cabinet minister told aid agenices that foreign aid workers are prohibited from entering the disaster zones and that all aid must be delivered through the government. This comes with reports that local Burmese officials are stealing supplies, and that only 30% of aid is reaching people.
The United States, France, and the UK have rightly deployed ships, helicopters, cargo planes, and other life-saving equipment and supplies to the seas and countries neighboring Burma.  Yet, those materials sit by almost completely unused as the Burmese people perish from thirst, hunger, and disease.  These countries have stated that they are waiting for "permission" from the Burmese regime as China blocks UN Security Council action.

The UK, US, and France have done the right thing, trying to work through the UN.  They cannot be blamed for the intransigence of Burma's regime and China.
But, now is the time to act.  Please send a message to UK Prime Minister Brown, US President Bush, and French President Sarkozy calling on them to stop waiting for the Chinese and Burmese regimes' approval and send in relief immediately.
After Rwanda, the world pledged 'never again'.  Yet again the world stands by as an impending catastrophe can claim hundreds of thousands of lives.
**Please send this message as far and wide as you possibly can.**
Aung Din, Jeremy Woodrum, Jennifer Quigley, and Thelma Young

P.S  We have set up a section of our webpage dedicated to the cyclone so you can get all the latest news.  Also, we are still accepting donations for cyclone victims.

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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