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Subject: pls circulate -Stop Oppressing the Muslims of Burma
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For Immediate Release May 26, 1999
Ted Hobart, DC Burma Activist Network (703) 524-9773
Min Min, DC Burma Activist Network (202) 215-6376
Ahtar, Burmese Women's Union (301) 762-0006
Stop Oppressing the Muslims of Burma
Demonstration at Malaysian embassy in Washington
WASHINGTON, D.C. - Burmese and American democracy supporters will protest
the Malaysian government's support for the narco-dictatorship in Burma,
with a demonstration tomorrow, Thursday, May 27th at the Malaysian embassy
in Washington, D.C. The demonstration will begin at 4:30 p.m., at S
Street. and Massachusetts Avenue.
Four percent of Burma's population is Muslim, and the military government
has systematically persecuted them, along with Christian and other minority
groups. Beginning in 1992, an estimated 250,000 Muslims from Myanmar's
western province of Arakan fled to Bangladesh to escape attacks by the
Burmese military. While many of the refugees have been forced back into
Burma, others continue to resist being repatriated.
In March 1997, there were attacks on Muslims and mosques in Mandalay and
other cities, reportedly provoked by government provocateurs. Religious
persecution is widespread in Burma. Buddhist monks and other religious
leaders are repeatedly arrested, if they are found to be involved in
While most American and European companies have pulled out of Burma,
Malaysian companies such as Bousted Shipping Agencies Sdn. Bhd. and
Petronas, the Malaysian state-owned oil company, have been actively
providing financial support to Burma's generals.
Burma's entry into ASEAN in 1997 damaged relations between ASEAN and the
European Union. Burma's generals are barred from setting foot in the E.U.,
which almost forced the cancellation of recent ASEAN-EU meetings. The
Malaysia government's support for allowing Burma into ASEAN was protested
by groups such as the Muslim Youth Movement of Malaysia (ABIM).
The illegal control of Burma by the military dictatorship has been
condemned by the U.N., the U.S. government, the E.U. , and many
non-governmental organizations for widespread human rights abuses. These
violations include summary executions, torture, forced relocations,
systematic rape and the persecution of ethnic minorities. The U.S.
Department of Labor recently documented the massive use of slave labor by
Under the rule of the Myanmar junta, Burma has become the world's largest
heroin exporter, and a global center for drug money laundering, according
to the U.S. State Department.
After our Malaysian Embassy demonstration, we will march at 5:30 pm to the
Burmese Embassy to commemorate the 9th year anniversary of the 1990
democratic elections in Burma.
# # #
The Washington D.C. Burma Activist Network is a coalition that meets
regularly to share information, strategize and organize campaigns, and
coordinate actions to promote democracy and human rights in Burma through
grassroots pressure on federal legislators, state and local governments,
and multinational corporations and institutions.
Asia Pacific Center for Justice and Peace
110 Maryland Avenue, N.E. Box 70
Washington, D.C. 20002