In Burma, President Obama Speaks Out Forcefully For Democracy and Human Rights

You Did It Again!

In Burma, President Obama Speaks Out Forcefully For Democracy and Human Rights

Dear Supporter,

Right now, President Obama is in Burma and speaking out forcefully in support of democracy and human rights.

In an interview with The Irrawaddy [ ], President Obama acknowledged the hard truth – highlighted recently by Daw Aung San Kyi – that Burma’s regime is now in a “slowdown and backsliding in reforms. In addition to restrictions on freedom of the press, we continue to see violations of basic human rights and abuses in the country’s ethnic areas, including reports of extrajudicial killings, rape and forced labor.”

President Obama specifically cited the regime’s refusal to amend a constitutional provision that makes Daw. Aung San Suu Kyi ineligible to run for president in elections next year. He also highlighted the regime’s unwillingness to curb widespread violence against the ethnic Rohingya. Burma’s transition, Mr. Obama said, is “by no means complete or irreversible.”

It is thanks in no small part to YOUR hard work that President Obama is speaking out so forcefully.

Thanks to YOU, President Obama carries with him a letter from 43 members of the U.S. House of Representatives urging him to press Burma’s ruling regime to end its abuses of human rights and ensure free, fair, and inclusive elections in 2015.

These letters from Congress matter. Just last week, a U.S. State Department official told me that, when in Burma this summer, Secretary Kerry impressed on Burmese regime leaders the large number of House Members who signed these letters.

Your emails and calls to Congress matter. You did more than just sway your Member of Congress. Your collective effort added significantly to the pressure on the Burmese regime and its president, Thein Sein.

The stakes are high. Your pressure has resulted in President Obama acknowledging publicly that the Burmese regime is backtracking on democracy and human rights. We need your continued efforts to help:

End the regime’s organized attacks on the ethnic Rohingya in Rakhine State who now live in displacement camps that lack rudimentary health care;
  * Stop the Burmese military’s use of rape in its wars against the peoples of Kachin State and Shan State;
  * Release all political prisoners including the five Unity journalists recently sentenced to ten years hard labor;
  * Ensure free and fair elections in 2015 including removing the prohibition on Daw Aung San Suu Kyi running for election as a candidate for President.

We could not have come this far without you. I was impressed and inspired at how you – the members of the US Campaign for Burma – not only contacted your Representative individually but have also started to organize in your communities for even greater impact.

Before moving to Washington, DC, eight years ago, I was Coordinator of the Massachusetts Burma Roundtable. We lobbied our elected representatives, raised money, and organized speaking tours. Now as Executive Director of the U.S. Campaign for Burma, I have the honor of working with amazing activists all over America.

Would you join this growing band and organize your own community chapter of US Campaign for Burma?

Please contact me at [email protected] [ mailto:[email protected] ]. Let’s talk about how we can work together for a free, just, and democratic Burma.

In gratitude and solidarity,

Simon Billenness

For the team at US Campaign for Burma: Jen Quigley, Simon Billenness, Myra Dahgaypaw, Mariam Mehter, and Brianna Oliver

P.S. We cannot do this crucial work without funding. Don’t forget that you can also support the work of the US Campaign for Burma with a generous gift. [ ]