John Jackson: Why won't Europe help Burma?

From a speech by the director of the Burma Campaign UK, delivered outside Parliament
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The Independent Online

At eight minutes past eight, on August 8 1988, a remarkable event in the history of political struggle took place.

A year before the fall of the Berlin Wall, the tragedy of Tiananmen Square and the release of Nelson Mandela, the people of Burma took to the streets in their millions, calling for an end to three decades of military dictatorship. Thousands of unarmed civilians were massacred by the army, troops even entering Rangoon General Hospital to finish of those not yet dead and any medical staff who tried to protect them. The true number of those who died will never be known

Burma's non-violent revolution was born out of the cold and disciplined violence of its military against its own people. The emergence of San Suu Kyi as the leader of Burma's pro-democracy movement is due in large part to 8/8/88 and its legacy.

Just as Nelson Mandela and the African National Congress called for sanctions against apartheid, Aung San Suu Kyi and her National League for Democracy, the winners of Burma's 1990 election, have called for economic sanctions against the junta. But Europe stands by, wringing its hands, watching and waiting. America is the only country to apply tough sanctions against the regime. The EU merely bans the generals from having holidays in Europe and freezes the negligible assets they might hold in European banks. It's pathetic.

We are stepping up pressure for Britain not to wait for Europe, but to take action now. We will push for the UN Security Council to impose legally binding sanctions against the Generals in Rangoon to force Burma's Asian neighbours to push the military towards reform.

It is because of the 8/8/88 uprising that this movement exists, and it is because of this movement that Burma will be free.

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