Burmese activists plead for pressure on military regime

Published May 1, 2004

The world has forgotten Burma (Myanmar), two Burmese pro-democracy activists said during a recent visit to Canada to help draw attention to the plight of Burmese people who they say continue to suffer under a brutal military dictatorship.

Daw San San, an exiled member of parliament from the National League for Democracy who was imprisoned twice for her political activities, and Khin Ohmar, women’s affairs co-ordinator of the Burma United Nations Service of National Coalition Government of the Union of Burma, spoke during a forum sponsored by the Primate’s World Relief and Development Fund (PWRDF) in March.

“International governments must put pressure on the military regime to release all political prisoners before any dialogue can take place,” Ms. San San said in an interview. Ms. San San, 73, left Burma for the Thailand-Burma border shortly after the Depayin massacre last May 30, 2003, where some 70 people were reportedly killed when military authorities arrested democracy leader Daw Aung San Suu Kyi.

Burma has been under a military dictatorship since the 1960s, when General Ne Win staged a coup against Prime Minister U Nu. Thousands of democracy advocates have been killed or imprisoned for opposing the military regime.

Mahjabeen Chowdhury, PWRDF development co-ordinator for the Asia-Pacific region, said that PWRDF has increased its support to $84,000 yearly for civil society groups along the Thailand-Burma border, which run programs like birth registration of undocumented migrant workers to peace building efforts.


  • Marites N. Sison

    Marites (Tess) Sison was editor of the Anglican Journal from August 2014 to July 2018, and senior staff writer from December 2003 to July 2014. An award-winning journalist, she has more that three decades of professional journalism experience in Canada and overseas. She has contributed to The Toronto Star and CBC Radio, and worked as a stringer for The New York Times.

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