‘International community must act on Burma’, Article 19

September 26, 2007

Thousands of Burmese have taken to the streets in peaceful demonstrations to protest the military regime. What started as a protest against fuel hike on August 15 has now turned into a massive people’s demonstration which includes the highly revered Buddhist monks.

Today, the junta fired tear gas to disperse protesters, who have defied threats by the military. So far, 80 demonstrators, including monks had been arrested. Press freedom remains one of the biggest casualties with communications cut-off, journalists threatened, and their cameras/memory cards confiscated by the police.

More violence is expected in the days to come despite calls by the International community to the military junta to handle the situation diplomatically.

In the midst of this crisis, Article 19, a human rights organisation with special focus on defence and promotion of freedom of expression and freedom of information worldwide has called on the International community to join in full solidarity with the people of Burma and support their peaceful struggle for freedom of expression and democracy:

Dr Agnes Callamard, Article 19 executive director said in the statement “Even despite the relentless freedom of expression restrictions imposed on them, the Burmese people have joined together in an ardent and determined expression of their dissatisfaction towards the regime. We must now use our own freedom of expression to do the same.”

Read the rest of the statement here.

Please support the call by Article 19, by distributing this statement to all relevant persons, organisations and officials. You can start by sending to your respective embassies, especially those of ASEAN countries, to pressure them to immediately and diplomatically engage with Burma on this growing crisis.


Malaysian High Court throws out blogger’s remand review

September 18, 2007

The Malaysian High Court ruled yesterday that blogger Nathaniel Tan’s remand review was “academic and that any judgement made would not make any difference”.

Tan, who is also an Opposition activist, said the revision of his remand was an attempt to set a precedent that will stop the police from “kidnapping clearly innocent citizens, and using monkey tricks to deny arrestees their right to confer with legal counsel”.

He was “picked up” on 13 July and later charged under the Official Secrets Act for an anonymous comment left on his blog (see SEAPA alerts of 18 and 16 July 2007). He was remanded for four days and released on 17 July.

Read his blog for more information.