An appeal to the UN Security Council to protect the people of Burma

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H.E. Mohamed Bedjaoui, Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Algeria
H.E. Rafel Bielsa, Minister of Foreign Relations, Intl. Trade & Worship, Argentina
H.E. Rogatien Biaou, Minister of Foreign Affairs & African Integration, Benin
H.E. Celso Amorim, Minster of Foreign Affairs, Brazil
H.E. Li Zhaoxing, Minister of Foreign Affairs, China
H.E. Per Stig Moller, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Denmark
H.E. Philippe Douste-Blazy, Minister of Foreign Affairs, France
H.E. Petros Molyviatis, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Greece
H.E. Nobutaka Machimura, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Japan
H.E. Alberto Romulo, Secretary of Foreign Affairs, Philippines
H.E. Mihai Razvan Ungureanu, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Romania
H.E. Sergey Viktorovich Lavrov, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Russian Federations
H.E. Jack Straw, Sec. of State for Foreign & Common Wealth Affairs, United Kingdom
H.E. Jakaya Mrisho Kikwete, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Intl. Cooperation, Tanzania
H.E. Condoleezza Rice, Secretary of State, United States of America

Subject: An appeal to the UN Security Council to protect the people of Burma

On the occasion of the 17th Anniversary of the "8888 Democratic Uprising" in Burma, we, the concerned friends of Burma around the world, and the undersigned people of Burma, compelled to live in exile appeal to all members of the UN Security Council to urgently address the rapidly deteriorating situation in Burma and find ways and means to protect the people of Burma from systematic human rights violations and social illnesses, including poverty and deprivation of access to health care and education resulting from the protracted armed conflict and long political stalemate.

Stalled transitional process to democracy and elusive national conciliation process have prompted early warning signs in Burma today that Burma is on the verge of devastation. Therefore, a common course of action should be pursued to immediately address poverty, poor health care, low education standards, environmental degradation, and general feeling of insecurity in the society.

Indicators that have raised our concern are:

Increased intimidation, harassment, politically motivated arrests, and restrictions imposed on members of the National League for Democracy (NLD). The Amnesty International estimates that there are about 1,100 political prisoners facing harsh prison conditions and subjected to cruel and inhumane treatment.

Renewed signs of the civil war flaring up again following the military's arrest of Shan leaders and rejection of the federal principles proposed by ethnic ceasefire groups at the national convention.

Increased deployment of armed forces in areas of ethnic nationalities and persecution of civilians resulting in a massive displacement of people and exodus of refugees into neighboring countries.

Signs of possible violent incidents similar to the bomb explosions in Rangoon in May as a result of increased tension within the Burmese Defense Services following the dismissal of General Khin Nyunt and hundreds of Military Intelligence personnel.

Rapidly deteriorating economic situation which has left 75\\% of the population living below the poverty line.

Growing food security problem manifested by malnutrition among children: One out of every three children under five suffers from malnutrition.

Suffering of women and children as manifested by the following indicators:

Infant Mortality Rate - 76 deaths per every 1,000 live births
Under-five Mortality Rate - 107 deaths per 1,000 live births
Average Maternal Mortality Rate - 360 per 100,000 in the year 2000
Child Soldiers - 70,000

Ongoing incidents of rapes committed by members of the Burma Army in ethnic nationality areas documented by such reports as, License to Rape (Shan Women Action Network), Shattered Silence (Karen Women Organization), and Cat Walk to the Barracks (Human Rights Foundation of Monland)

Generalized HIV epidemic becoming out of control and Burma being source of HIV spread to neighboring countries (1.3\\% of population are infected with HIV).

Rapid deforestation rate resulting from unlimited exploitation of forests and increased frequency of floods and landslides, and the ecological damage causing heat waves.

Given the fact that a homegrown national reconciliation process in Burma is unlikely and the ruling Burmese generals have failed to cooperate with the UN Secretary General and his special envoy, who is mandated to facilitate a political dialogue, it is time for the United Nations Security Council to address the situation in Burma.