03 Oct 2001
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Burma is ruled by one of the most brutal dictatorships in the world. Millions of people have been forced into slave labour, and approximately 1,800 political prisoners languish in jail, many subject to torture.
The Day of Prayer is part of an international series of events timed to coincide with the tenth anniversary of the award of the Nobel Peace Prize to Aung San Suu Kyi, Burma’s pro-democracy leader. Aung San Suu Kyi – who has spent much of the last decade under house arrest – has come to symbolise Burma’s struggle for freedom.
“Aung San Suu Kyi has asked for international support for the struggle for peace and democracy in Burma”, said Michael Taylor, Chair of the Burma Campaign UK. “This National Day of Prayer is a response to that call, as well as an expression of the deep concern for justice we believe we share with God.”
A prayer and information pack for Churches interested in taking part is available from the Burma Campaign UK: 020 7281 7377 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
NOTES TO EDITORS:
1) Burma has been ruled by a military dictatorship since 1962. In 1988 a peaceful uprising calling for democracy was ruthlessly put down by the regime. 3,000 people were massacred and thousands more were forced to flee the country. Thinking it had crushed the democracy movement the regime held elections in 1990. The National League for Democracy, led by Aung San Suu Kyi, won 82 percent of the seats in Parliament. The regime refused to accept the results of the election, and has clung on to power through brutal repression ever since.
2) The United Nations has charged Burma with ‘a crime against humanity’ for its use of slave labour. Once one of the richest nations in Asia, years of military rule have reduced it to one of the poorest. One in ten babies die before their first birthday.
3) South African Archbishop Desmond Tutu has described Burma as “the new South Africa” and called on people across the world to support the campaign for democracy.
4) Michael Taylor, Chair of Burma Campaign UK, is former Director of Christian Aid and former President of Jubilee 2000. He is now Professor of Social Theology at Birmingham University.
5) Jpeg pictures of Aung San Suu Kyi are available via e-mail by calling Mark Farmaner on 0794 123 9640. Copyright is not owned by Burma Campaign UK, and the owners request a £30 fee.