His Excellency Ban Ki-Moon
Secretary-General of the United Nations
New York, New York 10017
We, the undersigned, are writing to respectfully
urge you to put the situation in Burma on the formal agenda of
the United Nations Security Council and to use your good offices
to support the passage of a binding resolution requiring the restoration
of democracy to Burma.
We warmly welcome the first United Nations Security
Council briefing on Burma conducted by your office in December
of 2005. However, the briefing was only a first step to bringing
resolution to the current crisis in Burma. We believe the increasingly
unstable situation in Burma represents a threat, not only to the
people of Burma, but to international peace and security. As a
result, the United Nations Security Council has an obligation
There is great urgency in this request because
the situation in Burma continues to deteriorate. As numerous reports
make clear, Burma is ruled by one of the world's most brutal military
juntas. Abuses being committed by the military regime include:
1. The continuing detention of the world's only
imprisoned Nobel Peace Prize recipient, Aung San Suu Kyi.
2. Imprisoning and torturing opponents, including
more than 2,200 political prisoners, 16 of whom are fellow members
3. Using rape as a weapon of war.
4. Forcibly recruiting up to 70,000 child soldiers,
far more than any other army in the world.
5. Causing over 700,000 refugees, with more to
come, to flee across Burma's borders into neighboring countries.
6. The SPDC Army has forced over 500,000 villagers
from their land. These people remain in Burma as internal refugees.
They live and barely survive in the jungles and mountains of eastern
Burma. Their only desire is to return home and live in peace.
7. Burning or otherwise destroying 3,300 villages.
8. Forcing humanitarian aid organizations such
as Doctors without Borders (France) and the UN's Global Fund on
HIV/AIDS, Malaria, and Tuberculosis, to leave Burma because the
junta refuses to permit them to carry out their work.
9. Maintaining Burma’s status as the largest
producer of illegal methamphetamines in Southeast Asia, causing
devastation of individuals and families throughout the region.
10. Conducting a new military and brutal offensive
against Burma’s ethnic Karen minority. The acts of aggression
against the Karen include the shooting of unarmed civilians and
children, burning villages, rape, torture, and mutilation.
In recent years the United Nations has employed
many diplomatic initiatives in relation to Burma. Two consecutive
envoys from the your office and four other Special Rapporteurs
from the United Nations Commission on Human Rights have failed
to elicit reform from the regime. Your predecessor called for
democratic transition in Burma by 2006, but so far the regime
has failed to respond.
The United Nations is not the only body to have
failed in its attempts at diplomacy with the military junta. The
European Union has sent missions representing the EU requesting
change in Burma, again to no avail. Burma’s neighboring
countries, including Malaysia, Indonesia, the Philippines, and
Singapore have failed in bilateral diplomacy, and recent requests
for reform from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN)
have been rebuffed.
The regime in Burma is clearly unwilling to respond
to reasonable diplomatic requests. The responsibility for failure
in these efforts rests solely with Burma's military junta. The
international community cannot allow the current impasse to continue.
It is now time for the United Nations Security Council to intervene.
It has the power to pass a binding resolution requiring the regime
to engage in genuine negotiations and begin a transition to democracy
There is ample precedent for a Security Council
resolution on Burma. The Council has passed resolutions on many
countries, including Haiti, Sierra Leone, Afghanistan, Yemen,
and Liberia where conditions less severe than those in Burma existed.
Failure by the Security Council to act on Burma will cause the
death of more innocent civilians.
The Threat To The Peace report, commissioned
by former Czech President Vaclav Havel and South Africa's Archbishop
Desmond Tutu provides detailed reasons on why the Security Council
should act, and the legal basis on which it can do so. The Havel-Tutu
report recommends UN Security Council action that would require
Burma's military regime to work with the United Nations on a plan
for transition. Since the report was produced, the Council unanimously
adopted Resolution 1674, providing further justification for Security
We urge the Council to adopt a resolution following
the recommendations by Mr. Havel and Mr. Tutu. This resolution
1) Require the government of Burma to work with
the UN Secretary- General in implementing a plan for national
2) Request the UN Secretary-General remain involved
in the reconciliation process and require him to report back to
the Council on a regular basis.
3) Urge the Government of Burma to ensure the
immediate, safe, and unhindered access to all parts of the country
for the United Nations and international humanitarian organizations
to provide humanitarian assistance to the most vulnerable groups
of the population, including internally displaced people.
4) Call for the immediate and unconditional release
of Aung San Suu Kyi and all political prisoners in Burma.
Thank you for your attention to this most serious
cc: Representatives of the United Nations Security