Statement on 14th
Anniversary of 8888 8888 Pro-Democracy
and Human Rights Movement in Burma
marks a historically important day in the struggle for democracy
and human rights in Burma. It commemorates the anniversary
of the 1988 peoples uprising in Burma where hundreds of thousands
of Burmese people from all walks of life participated in a
nation-wide strike to bring an end to military rule. It also
remembers the many thousands of civilian lives that have been
lost in the struggle for Burma's freedom.
The struggle to end military dictatorship in Burma has been
long and little progress has been made. However, there have
been recent hopeful signs of a move to civilian rule in the
release of Nobel Laureate, Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and the granting
of relative freedom of movement. These small, but hopeful
signs have been brought about by the conviction of Burmese
people who still, as we speak, continue to survive rape, imprisonment,
torture and displacement at the hands of the army, yet find
new ways of resisting an increasingly tyrannical military
The All Burma Students Democratic Organisation (ABSDO) calls
for the full restoration of democracy as system of government
in Burma, and for social, political and economic conditions
conducive to the enjoyment of fundamental human rights and
freedoms in Burma. A first step must be the immediate and
unconditional release of all political prisoners, including
student leader Min Ko Naing and to immediately cease all practises
that restrict freedom of movement, expression and conviction.
ABSDO notes recent news about the ill-health of a number
of prominent political prisoners, including Committee Representing
the People's Parliament (CRPP) Secretary, U Aye Tha Aung and
prominent newspaper editor, U Win Tin.
To establish genuine democracy in Burma requires not a return
to the deceitful political methods of the past, but an open,
transparent and peaceful dialogue process with all the parties
concerned. The military junta must allow the Committee Representing
the People's Parliament to convene and embark on the appropriate
processes of reform and reconciliation, including the drafting
and enacting of a new constitution.
The importance of today's date reminds us of the aspirations
and convictions of an entire generation of Burmese young people,
and provides us with an opportunity to reaffirm and restate
our commitment to the aims of the 8888 movement.
Subsequently, we call for the international community, and
the Australian government to maintain pressure on the regime
to change. Finally, ABSDO demands an immediate and significant
change in Australian foreign policy on Burma that recognises
the CRPP and Aung San Suu Kyi as the leader of Burma's pro-democracy
movement and threats and ceases all dealings with the regime
that serves to legitimatise them.
For enquiries please contact Toe Zaw Latt on 8430 3710.
Dated. August 3, 2002.