CSW wants UN to intervene in Burma crisis

Christian Solidarity Worldwide is calling for "urgent, specific and meaningful action" from the UN to address Burma's ongoing political and humanitarian crisis.

The appeal issued Friday marks 20 years since the bloody suppression of pro-democracy demonstrations on 8 August 1988 in which at least 3,000 civilians were killed and thousands more in further protests in the months that followed.

CSW wants the UN to present the Burma regime with a list of demands, including the release of political prisoners before the visit of UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon to the country in December and a universal arms embargo on the regime.

The organisation is pressing for key members of the military junta to be brought before the International Criminal Court for crimes against humanity and the EU to impose financial sanctions targeted at the regime's assets.

"Hundreds of thousands of people have needlessly died as a result of the junta's military offensives, torture, brutality, and deliberate criminal neglect," said CSW's national director, Stuart Windsor.

"We cannot afford to wait another 20 years before the international community acts decisively in response to this political and humanitarian crisis.

"As we pay tribute to those who gave their lives in 1988, let us finally resolve to turn rhetoric into meaningful action."

Mr Windsor called on UN Special Envoy Ibrahim Gambari to deliver a "tough" message to the military junta when he visits Burma later this month.

"After 35 UN envoy visits to Burma, it is time that the UN puts aside diplomatic rhetoric and takes urgent, specific and meaningful action," he said.

Security remains tight on the streets of Burma's largest city, Rangoon, on Friday with the heavy presence of riot police to stop any new protests breaking out.