When Burma Campaign UK was first set up 25 years ago, Aung San Suu Kyi was under house arrest and the National League for Democracy's landslide election victory in 1990 had been crushed by the military. Hundreds of political prisoners were in jail, the military intensified its attacks against ethnic minorities and hundreds of thousands had to flee the terror.
They asked for international help and Burma Campaign UK was set up in response to that call.
Over 25 years, we have helped secure the release of thousands of political prisoners. This isn't just a statistic. It means political prisoners denied urgent medical care received life-saving treatment. It means mothers and fathers returned home to their children.
We have helped ensure aid has reached hundreds of thousands of people who have fled attacks by the Burmese Army. This means children able to eat, to access medical care, to have shelter to sleep under, and to receive education.
Harder to quantify but just as important is the leading role we played in mobilising international attention and pressure on the military regime in Burma. This has played a critical role in helping to bring about the changes we have seen in Burma in recent years.
The many years of struggle and sacrifice by the people of Burma has helped win their freedom and we are proud to have played a role in supporting their struggle.
25 years since we were founded, Aung San Suu Kyi has led the National League for Democracy to another election victory and this time is leading the government. Although the NLD must share power with the military, 75% of MPs have been democratically elected. There is great hope in Burma that these changes will lead to greater freedoms and a better life.
And yet …however encouraging these changes are, Burma has not changed as much as it may first appear.
The military still retain control of key government ministries, dominate the most lucrative sections of the economy and are completely independent from civilian control. There are still political prisoners in Burma's jails, repressive laws and policing restrict civil rights, villagers still flee attacks by the military and the struggle for peace and justice for Burma's ethnic groups continues.
Far from reluctantly conceding defeat, the military must be delighted that their plan is working so well, basking in the international acclaim for overseeing Burma's 'transition to democracy' while retaining all the powers that matter most to them.
25 years on, we can see how your support has made a difference. We can see dramatic changes in Burma. But the job isn't done yet. 25 years on, we are still being asked for help by people in Burma.
Many people, especially from ethnic and religious minorities, have yet to see any benefits from the changes so far. The situation for Rohingya Muslims in particular remains desperate.
Burma Campaign UK has never wavered in our support for human rights and democracy for everyone in Burma. We will continue to shine a light on the most serious human rights abuses in Burma. With over two decades of campaigning experience, we also now have a unique opportunity to share those skills with young activists in the country, so they can campaign both in Burma, and all over the world.
However, the general impression that Burma is now a free and democratic country means we have lost a lot of our funding and we need your help.