NAYPYIDAW, Burma — Burma has a long and difficult history when it comes to human rights. There are a variety of ethnic groups that exist inside Burma’s borders and many face human rights abuses and persecution by the current military junta. The Rohingya are an example of one of the most persecuted groups that live in Burma’s borders. They face persecution not only from the Burmese government, which is well-documented, but also from other ethnic groups inside Burma.
The United States Campaign for Burma is the only U.S. based advocacy group whose full mission is dedicated to improving life for those in Burma. The U.S. Campaign for Burma was founded in 2003 in order to achieve tangible and real results in the continued pursuit of human rights freedom and equality for the people of Burma.
The campaign has been working to help the people of Burma through action, advocacy, aid and awareness. Among many of the campaigns many accomplishments towards the aiding of Burma’s citizens was getting United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to travel to Burma in order to seek the release of the up to 100 political prisoners that Burma has currently in its prison.
Campaign for Burma has a lot of influence in Washington as well, the grass roots efforts of tens of thousands of its members all across the country and the renewal of the Burmese Freedom and Democracy Act. The bill served to cut off funds to Burma’s military junta and it provides sought after aid to the refuges of Burma. One of the campaign’s most impressive accomplishments has been its decade long struggle to ensure that over 100 companies stop doing business with Burma’s military junta, it has been widely argued as one of the most effective boycotts since the end of apartheid in South Africa.
The U.S. Campaign for Burma is also responsible for the Obama administration lending it support to a U.N.-led Commission of Inquiry into the crimes against humanity and war crimes that have occurred against the people of Burma.
The Campaign also led the effort to write a letter to the U.N. Secretary General which included the signatures of some 28 A-list celebrities, including Jennifer Aniston, Anjelica Huston, Owen Wilson, Dustin Hoffman, Julie Benz and many more. The people of Burma need all the support that they get from those in the international community, especially those who are in the public eye who have celebrity status.
Aid is another factor of what the Campaign strives to work with. It is responsible for the delivery of millions of dollars to aid groups in Thailand who then make the crossing into Burma to aid those civilians who are unable to get the basic human services that they need and deserve because of the military junta’s blockage.
The U.S. Campaign for Burma is a shining example of the sort of pure humanitarian effort that those in dire circumstances around the world need. The ongoing humanitarian crises against civilians going on in Burma is a continuing problem for the country’s military government.
– Arthur Fuller
Sources: US Campaign for Burma, CIA World Factbook
Photo: CII Broadcasting