Bountiful Bristol Bulletin


Please take action to make EU sanctions in Burma a reality. by nadiacatkinhillman
October 13, 2007, 8:47 am
Filed under: government, international, justice
European foreign ministers will decide on Burma this Monday – urge your own foreign minister to back targeted sanctions and incentives!

Send Your Message

This Monday, October 15, the foreign ministers of the 27 European Union states will meet in Luxembourg–and decide whether to live up to their warnings to the Burmese junta.

Three weeks ago, the EU vowed to step up sanctions on the Burmese regime if it cracked down violently on the protesters. If the EU fails to take action now, the Burmese regime will take it as a sign that international pressure is mere talk, and won’t hesitate to commit further atrocities.

Burma isn’t a democracy, but EU countries should be. If we can send a flood of messages to our own foreign ministers before the meeting on Monday, we can press each of them to vote for stronger sanctions and targeted incentives to push the regime into dialogue– without hurting ordinary Burmese people. Click here to send an email to your foreign minister:

http://www.avaaz.org/en/eu_squeeze_the_junta/d.php?cl=31303531

The brutal Burmese military sees EU sanctions as a serious threat. To finance its vast army, the junta exports billions in gas, oil, gems, and timber each year. Targeting these industries will hit the state-run monopolies, but won’t affect the public; most Burmese are desperately poor and gain nothing from this ugly trade. In parallel we can offer aid and incentives for reconciliation. Strong sanctions would give the democracy movement a powerful bargaining chip— the government might cede power in exchange for them being lifted.

That’s why Aung San Suu Kyi, the iconic Burmese opposition leader, has been calling for stronger international sanctions for more than a decade. And it’s why, earlier this week, she refused to back down–even after the dictator Than Shwe promised to meet with her if she would drop her demands.

We can stand with Suu Kyi, with the monks and other protesters–so many of whom have given their lives–by supporting their call. Let’s send a flood of messages to the EU foreign ministers before they meet this Monday, supporting targeted sanctions and incentives for Burma:

http://www.avaaz.org/en/eu_squeeze_the_junta/d.php?cl=31303531

The very day before the Burmese junta’s crackdown began, the EU threatened to “reinforce and strengthen the existing sanctions regime” if the junta were to “resort to using violence against the unarmed and peaceful demonstrators.” Meanwhile, a remarkable global movement has arisen–protests worldwide, media attention, more than 750,000 individuals signing the Avaaz petition on Burma.

Unless European countries act now, international pressure could lose all credibility. It is up to us to make sure that our leaders live up to their own words–and take meaningful action now to support the Burmese people.

With hope and determination,

Ben, Ricken, Pascal, Graziela, Galit, Iain, Paul, Sarah, and Milena – the Avaaz team.

PS: Some recommended background reading…

Suu Kyi refusing to surrender to Than Shwe on sanctions – http://news.independent.co.uk/world/asia/article3043752.ece

A comprehensive background on Burma sanctions; excellent answers to common questions – http://www.burmacampaign.org.uk/reports/targeted_sanctions.htm

A statement supporting sanctions by the National League of Democracy spokesperson –
http://english.dvb.no/news.php?id=308

And the European Union statement threatening stronger sanctions if the Burmese government resorted to violence –
http://www.eu2007.pt/UE/vEN/Noticias_Documentos/Declaracoes_PESC/20070925PESCII.htm

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